Why Protesting Matters

5 Dec
Protesting in Los Angeles

Protesting in Los Angeles

Protesting: Because We Can No Longer Remain Silent.

I protested at two demonstrations this week—both regarding the non-indictments of murders of Black men—however I quickly realized that these protests were about so much more:

  • Mass incarceration
  • Hindering our right to vote
  • Militarization of the police
  • Un-livable wages at Wal-mart and countless other billion-dollar companies
  • Racism on the internet
  • The lack of coverage for women of color who are raped, abused, and murdered by police

I’d rather not go on. Though you know I could.

Yet, with all of this injustice going on, I am inspired by the millions of people across the nation and around the world who are protesting. I am inspired by #ShutItDown, #HandsUpWalkOut, #HandsupDontShoot #BlackLivesMatter, and countless others. When I see the photos of demonstrators shutting down the Bart, the Brooklyn Bridge, Wal-mart, and other places, I want to jump out of my seat and join them. So I did. And we will continue—despite the difficulties.

Demonstrations aren’t always easy. People marching the streets are been arrested, threatened, and made examples of by the police. We’ve seen the hostile situation in Ferguson, where police interrupted legal protests with tear gas. We’ve seen around 300 people arrested in Los Angeles in just 2 days. And we’ve seen protesters in DC hit purposely by an angry driver, while police turn their heads and let the driver speed off. Protesting can put your life at risk.

But it is worth it.

Our predecessors marched despite being spit on, attached by police dogs, plowed down with powerful water hoses, bombed, and more. But they marched on. Their cause was worth it, and their fight has been passed down to us.

Every day since the Darren Wilson was let off without so much as a slap on the wrist, we have been protesting. And so far, I’ve seen demonstrations scheduled from now up until January.

We can’t let this movement die. This is on us.

Memorial at USC

Memorial at USC

If this racist system has been in place for more than 100 years, it will take more than a few days of protesting to tear it down. And when it stops trending on social media, we must continue.

So Ignite your inner Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcom X, Angela Davis or whoever your hero might be. Contrary to what I used to believe after watching Chris Paul turn his jersey inside out and play for Donald Sterling, Black people are not cowards—though our celebrities might be. Why are they so silent these days? Where’s a Kanye rant when you need one?

I bet if Beyoncé and Jay-Z called for everyone to boycott Wal-mart until the workers receive reasonable wages, lots of folks would take their buying power elsewhere.

We can’t be silent like our careless famous folks of color. We can’t turn our jerseys inside out and go on with our lives. Business as usual means more police murders walk free while injustice continues.

We’re better than that.

As Desmond Tutu once said:

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

P.S. I’ve been asking every protestor and supporter this question: Where do we go from here? Lots of folks are saying we need a monetary boycott. Maybe we need to reclaim the sentiments of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. That was successful because buses were forced to integrate. They couldn’t afford to lose black dollars. So maybe we should be a little more strategic about our buying power.

Tell me…Where do we go from here?

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2 Responses to “Why Protesting Matters”

  1. H. Nena December 5, 2014 at 8:26 AM #

    This country was built in large part on the forced labor of black people. Blacks gave their lives for justice and equality in this United States of America. At 55 years old I am more discouraged than ever with the state of this nation and the fate of black people who are not the people in “we the people” that the Constitution speaks of.

    Like

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  1. Most Powerful #BlackLivesMatter Protest Moments | A Womyn's Worth - December 11, 2014

    […] Dec As I discussed in the previous post, Why Protesting Matters, the demonstrations across the nations and around the world against the killings of unarmed black […]

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