“We are observing a phenomenon that Martin Luther King, Jr. noted well in his 1963 ‘Letter From a Birmingham Jail.’ We are dealing with ‘the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action!’”Natasha Lennard, an excerpt from Being Numerous: Essays on Non-Fascist Life (Chapter 1, “We Anti-Fascists,” page 11)
The protest began in 2016, it was silent and peaceful. I am speaking about the San Francisco 49ers former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Colin took a knee during the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” This was a protest against police violence which constantly chooses black people and people of color as the unwilling victims.
The professional football players that followed Colin Kaepernick’s silent and peaceful example were called “sons of bitches” by President Donald J. Trump.
There is a very strong possibility that NFL football players will take a knee again in 2020 to honor the memory of George Floyd. The mainstream corporate owned media seems to have a playbook that it follows after incidents such as the televised murder by police officers of George Floyd.
All of a sudden, the narrative changes. The loss of another black life takes a back seat to property damage. Instead of addressing the systemic racism and institutionalized violence which exists in Amerika, the conversation changes.
The blame is now placed on anarchists. Funny thing is, I have never witnessed any of my anarchist friends choking an unarmed black man to death on national TV or hunting down a black man who went for a jog, or executing a black womyn in Louisville, Kentucky while she slept in her bed.
The Governor of Minnesota told the world that the violence which erupted in Minneapolis was not about George Floyd. He immediately called in the National Guard and began to conspire with the Federal Government in order to Silence our Voice of Protest.
The calling up of the National Guard all across the United States was an intimidation tactic.
I have a question: If the protests, the fires, and the looting did not have anything to do with the police murder of George Floyd—then what prompted this outpouring of rage?
It was more than the nine minute video which showed the execution of George Floyd that angered our people. There is a collective anger and a collective frustration which has been summering among communities of color and among our white allies and friends here in Amerika.
We keep hearing police officials and government officials say that they are going to respect our right to exercise First Amendment Rights. However, time and time again, we continue to witness Police agencies throughout the United States have absolutely no regard for our RIGHT TO LIFE! If our lives are not respected, then what makes anyone believe for one moment that the police in Amerika are capable of respecting our Right to Free Speech, our Right to Protest, or our Right of Political Affiliation??
Between May 30th and June 1st 2020 the law enforcement authorities and the US military mobilized the largest show of force we have ever witnessed in order to confront protestors. This show of force in my opinion, was disproportionate and unnecessary. Nevertheless, a message was being sent to those on the LEFT. Posse Comitatus has been suspended in Amerika. Look it up.
I heard the police officials in Minneapolis, Minnesota say that they represent ‘goodness and righteousness.’ The historical record reflects something different.
IT was the police who murdered George Floyd and the three offices who watched and did nothing to stop the murder are culpable and complicit in the taking of Mr. Floyd life.
It was the police who executed EMT-Breonna Taylor while she slept in Louisville, Kentucky. IT was a former policeman and his son who “lynched” Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia. Under the cover of a blue uniform and behind the shield of law enforcement our communities of color continue to be terrorized.
The victims span the broad scope of black society, from homeless people in San Francisco and Oakland to well known and respected Civil Rights Attorneys. No one is immune nor are we safe guarded from the systemic racism and institutionalized violence perpetrated against us by the police, security guards, and vigilantes here in Amerika.
President Trump issued an infamous tweet in the wee hours of the morning on Friday, May 29th, 2020: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” End of quote.
The President feigned innocence and ignorance when questioned about his inflammatory language. It was clear that there was a veiled and implied threat contained in the US President’s untimely tweet. Using bullying tactics as well as overwhelming force to silence our voice of protest has been an established tactic and strategy of the Trump administration.
The question that begs to be asked is this: “What is an acceptable form of protest when the police continue to murder unarmed people of color?”
When we are peaceful, we are called “sons of bitches,” when we are violent we are “thugs”—this messaging is confusing to me.
I am not a person who can be brainwashed—you cannot execute an unarmed black man on national tv and have me believe that your police agency is a “force for good.” On the contrary your police agency is a force for evil.
As I prepare to be released from a federal prison in Louisiana and assume the editorial position at the San Francisco Bay View-National Black Newspaper I find myself questioning the responsibility I have to my community as a Black Journalist.
Will I be the next unarmed Black Activist assassinated by the police? A very real fear for someone like me. Remember Ferguson? Nevertheless, we must not ever be paralyzed by our fears or worries, I ask you this:
“How can I and my fellow colleagues like Editor Mary Ratcliff at The Bay View and El Tecolote Editor-in-Chief Alexis Terrazas do to translate and transform our journalism into meaningful change for the communities we serve? How do we transform all this anger, rage, and sadness into power at the ballot box in November 2020?
We want elected officials who respect us and who have a vested interest in the health, welfare, and the success of all the people. We want to create a society where our most vulnerable communities have the care and support they need especially in times of crisis.
The problems we face are complex and I don’t believe that the Democrats or the Republican political parties are able to bring about the radical change needed in order to address these gross inequalities.
Multi-racial unity across all party lines and political affiliations may not be the “end all cure all” solution to all our problems, but I believe it is a start in the right direction.
No one feels comfortable talking about race relations in America. Nevertheless, if we are going to begin to heal the wounds that seem to be opened every other week, we must sit down at the table of sisterhood and brotherhood in order to find common ground.
Allowing the US military to mobilize in the US soil and in the US cities in order to silence our voice of protest is not any different than what the Chinese Government is doing to our sisters and brothers in Hong Kong.
They label us “radical” and “militant” but anarchists are peace-loving people who are critical thinkers and who ask critical questions when the authorities hurt the people and then lie about what actually happened.
I won’t remain silent—will you?
Dare to struggle, dare to win!
All power to the people!
Keith “Malik” Washington is Assistant Editor of the San Francisco Bay View-National Black Newspaper. He is studying and preparing to serve as Editor upon his release from Federal Prison. Malik is the co-founder and Chief Spokesperson for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement, a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee and an activist in the Fight Toxic Prisons Campaign. Visit Malik’s website at: comrademalik.com Please support and promote Malik’s re-entry fundraiser, he is scheduled to be released in September 2020. Visit the GoFundMe link: https://tinyurl.com/welcomehomemalik. Thank you for helping our comrade.
Please send Malik some Love and Light!
Write him directly at:
Keith “Malik” Washington
PO Box 2099
Pollock, LA 71467
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