No Justice, No Peace, No Sleep!

My heart is punctured, and my mind is twisted after hearing of the horrific events that took place the week of Independence Day. Myself and so many others are devastated and offended by the hostile actions taken by police. Like many of you, I’m wondering what happens next after the slaying of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, not to mention the mysterious lynching in Atlanta reported as a suicide. So I guess tasers, batons, and mace aren’t sufficient to subdue suspects or criminals anymore? Just as abortion is not a contraceptive method, murder is not a form of punishment.

The disturbing current events have evoked fear and doubt of protection here in the United States. The same citizens who are supposed to serve and protect us are killing us at an alarming rate. I know all cops are not corrupt, just as all black people are not criminals. Thus, we need a resolution, and the use of force is not the answer. At one time, the majority of police officers were able to identify with the community members they served. They were relatable, not retaliatory. They were dependable, not detestable.

Who are these monsters we pay our tax dollars to? Now I’m not oblivious to the fact that there have always been crooked cops, but in my 37 years of living in America, I’ve never heard of so many black people being murdered by cops. Did they apprehend us? Yes! Did they harass us? Yes! Did they beat us? Hell yes! But did they kill us? No! – at least not wrongfully and at such colossal rate.

I am appalled, heartbroken, and shocked at last week’s heinous events. I’m also confused because the modern-day police are starting to mimic the military. I don’t know whether to salute or surrender, respect or resent because who knows who is really hiding behind that blue suit and badge. They are playing cops but day and KKK by night. I never knew having freedom could come at the cost of my life.

My people, men and women, are being murdered for doing things people do every day. To add insult to injury, law enforcers and reporters insist on highlighting the victim’s background or past, as if it justifies the brutal actions taken. Who doesn’t have a past? Most people in this world are not law abiding citizens. Some have never been caught. I know I am not the only one who has changed lanes without using a signal, flew threw a light after it had just turned red, made an illegal turn, failed to fasten my seat belt, or went above the speed limit trying to get somewhere on time. Sometimes, I wasn’t even in a hurry. I was just impatient. Does that sound like you? Let’s not talk about “model citizens” who lie on applications, embezzle funds, commit forgery or fraud, take objects from their jobs without permission, and get away with so many other infractions. I’ve lived long enough to witness that no one’s past is as squeaky clean as his or her criminal records, which can often be altered by knowing the right people.

This mess have gone too far for too long. It is time for people, black, brown and white, to rise up and support something greater than self. We are living in times where people fear the police, and police fear the people. Cops are killing people, and people are killing cops. Either action taken is the beginning of a problem, not the answer to one. Everyone can have a role in this reform. You either play your part or become part of the problem. Just because you are not suffering, that does not mean people in your community aren’t.

Prayers are always needed, but action is required in order to promote change in our neighborhoods. If you are an evangelist, practice what you preach. If you are a parent, teach against racism and rebellion. If you are a teacher, serve as a mentor as well. If you are a nosey neighbor, make sure you report everything you see. If you are a lawyer, don’t accept cases that exonerate a killer or wrongdoer. If you are a civilian, obey the law. If you are a cop, don’t shoot unless you absolutely have to.

And remember…
“Make sense of what you do, and make every cent count.”

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them.

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Photo. Alton Sterling & Philando Castile

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Right Before My Eyes, I Surely Could’ve Died

It was a typical day for me, but apparently not for my car.
Had I known it would stop on me, I wouldn’t have gone far.
It had problems in the past, but none that I couldn’t bear.
I really thought that it would last, for its condition was fair.
I guess I trusted it too much, but who could blame me?
With a body like that, how bad could the pain be?
If I was to have a collision or run into a pole.
I knew my car would protect me, despite that it was old.
I took good care of that car,
But the car didn’t take care of me.
How could I be so stupid?
To trust a ’94 GMC.
I could have lost my life.
I wouldn’t be here today.
To tell you about a time
I thought I’d cast away.

I was driving through the city, N’awlins, they call it.
Decided to go a little farther – like an alcoholic.
I went one mile too many, and my car began to slow down.
At the high rise of the bridge, I almost got knocked around.
I immediately panicked and broke out into sweats.
Drivers swerved around me, as if I made them upset.
I kept trying to crank it up, hoping I could at least make the exit.
But it ignored my requests, as if it never got the message.

Help is on the way! Help is on the way! Here comes traffic patrol!
I thought I was getting out of that mess, but boy was I wrong.
He proceeded to push my vehicle…but to my fate,
The vehicle sped down the curve, with no power steering or brakes.
I thought I was going off of the bridge!
I thought I was going to die!
My heart was in flames – like a jilted bride.
It kept going faster and faster!
I couldn’t make it slow down!
I felt like I had been pushed.
But the question remains, “How?”
Was it an invisible hand?
Did someone put a hex on me?
Was it all a part of a plan?
To wish death upon me?
I couldn’t believe what was happening.
I just wanted it all to end.
I couldn’t depart from life like that.
I wanted to see my family again.

Suddenly, the car began to slow down.
I felt a breath of fresh air.
My ordeal was almost over.
And my life would be spared.
My car stopped in the nick of time,
Before hitting the one in front of me.
An angel arrived at the drop of a dime.
And I’m alive to share this because of thee.

I’ll never forget that bridge.
I’ll never forget that day.
I’ll never forget that car.
It’s all on instant replay.

I’ll forever remember that angel,
Whose invisible hand saved my life.
I’ll forever remember the relief I felt,
When I realized I was all right.

You couldn’t pay me to relive that moment.
I couldn’t do it if I tried.
Had it not been for my angel,
I surely could have died.
I surely could have died.
I surely could have died.
Right before my eyes, I surely could have died.

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