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By: Dr. Danielle Moss Lee
“I don’t know if #BlackLivesMatter is on the right track. I don’t care if #BlackLivesMatter is on the right track. They are navigating the world that we handed to them. They are navigating the country that they inherited. A country they love enough to step out of complacency to fight for. They are trying to make sense of racism, and sexism, and homophobia, and xenophobia and our distain for the poor and ensure that their children are left with something different, something better. And, I thank them for being courageous enough to risk something; to come onto the field of life; to try and help everyone make sense out of the senseless. So many have come onto the field and tried to reverse our American legacy of institutional, structural, and lived racism – Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglas, Ida B. Wells, Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ella Baker, Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, Fannie Lou Hamer….the list is endless. They all used different tactics. They all had their detractors. We have come a long way. But, we are not where we need to be.
One thing is clear: when famed journalists like Charles Blow and Bryant Gumbel bemoan and acknowledge that the meticulousness of their parenting, and the privilege of their education and sweat equity is no protection for their children, we’ve got a problem whose magnitude we may not have the strength to grasp. I am saddened, overwhelmed, angered, shocked, and broken by the constant onslaught of sanctioned violence on Black bodies. Is #BlackLivesMatter on the right track? Is that really the question we should be asking?
This is what I do know: There is no place to hide. There is no way to be. There is no school to attend. There is no place to vacation. There is no place to work. There is no title to hold. There is no income to earn. There is no gender to have. There is no childhood. There is no car to drive. There is nothing to pledge. There is no organization to join. There is no neighborhood to live in. There is no one to marry. There is no name you can have. There is nothing you can do to protect yourself, your children, or your families from the vagaries of 400 years of cultural, economic, structural and institutional racism if this society deems you Black. Our best hope is multi-pronged, multi-generational, multi-socioeconomic transformational and active resistance at work, at home, in the media, on the subway, in the stores, on the streets, in our schools, everywhere we breath – resistance. You’re a lawyer? Take on the legal system. You’re a doctor? Take on public health. You’re a teacher? Raise hope in your classroom. You’re an activist? Hit the streets. You’re a politician? Change public policy. You’re a banker? You’re a street sweeper? You’re a preacher? You’re an artist? You’re Black? You’re Asian? You’re Latina? You’re Arab? You’re white? You’re tired? So what. You’re here. You’re here. Pick up the mantle of freedom, and ride for this. #BlackLivesDamnSureMatter”