The weekly Moral Monday rally at the General Assembly saw a swelling in attendance this week, courtesy of the latest repressive law passed by Republican lawmakers.
In what was the legislative equivalent of a quarterback sneak, Republicans pushed through a bill last week that comes very close to banning abortions across the Tarheel State.
Women’s rights advocates and feminist groups joined the NAACP and other civil rights and voting rights advocates for Monday’s protest. Their voices were welcomed, but for a movement that is more than two months old, those voices could have been sounded a lot sooner.
In one of our first commentaries about the new Republican-led legislature and Governor’s Mansion, we urged all equality-loving residents to speak out and take a stand, for it wouldn’t be long before lawmakers turned their focus away from suppressing immigrants and blacks and toward other groups. We aren’t psychics; the writing was on the wall the minute Republicans settled-in and began making moves to suppress the minority vote and send immigrants packing. Did middle class white women think that they would be immune?
In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who we believe did possess prophetic abilities, penned on April 16, 1963 that, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
We should heed his words now more than ever.
The George Zimmerman trial has been getting a lot of headlines over the last two weeks. Everyone wants to see the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin brought to justice, and justifiably so. The very real thought of a white (Hispanic) man walking free for killing an unarmed black teenager is every black parent’s nightmare.
There is always a big hubbub when someone of another race guns down or otherwise kills or wrongs an African American. There are rallies, Facebook campaigns and then suddenly, Civil Rights Movement bigwigs – the Jesses and the Sharptons of the world – are rife on cable news channels. But black-on-black crime – the kind that has claimed the lives of more black teenagers than a racist’s bullet – doesn’t raise an eyebrow, let alone our collective ire.
Over the long Fourth of July weekend – July 3–7 – 74 people were shot in Chicago, which has gained the dubious reputation as the nation’s murder capital. Of those shot, 12 were killed. The severely injured included five-year-old and seven-year-old boys.
The Windy City has already surpassed 200 homicides in 2013, well on track to equal or top the 500 gun deaths the city recorded last year. The majority of the victims and perpetrators are black and brown folks from the inner-city. Unlike Trayvon Martin’s parents, many of these victims’ kin will never have a day in court to look their loved one’s killer in the eye. A lot of these homicides go unsolved. We figure that the cops feel that since we, the black community, care so little about our people gunning down one another, why should they invest a lot of time in solving these crimes.
The names of Trayvon Martin, Sean Bell, Emmett Till and Yusef Hawkins will live on forever. All of them were tragically killed by non-blacks, and each of their deaths sparked a national – even international – outcry.
Jaden Donald deserves equal time and equal indignation. He is the five-year-old black Chicago boy clinging to life after being shot, allegedly by fellow African American Darrell E. Chambers, last week. Where is the rally for Kinta Lamont Newman, a black man gunned down by other black men in Durham earlier this year, and Omar Sykes, the Howard University student shot and killed in Washington, D.C. on July 4?
Murder – regardless of the color of the victim or killer – should alarm us all. It should jar us, move us. We don’t see that happening in the black community when it comes to us killing ourselves, and that’s troubling. If we have become desensitized to the most common kind of crime in our community, then truly we have lost our way.