Dear Black Lives Matter, Step Your Game Up

Black Lives Matter

So I know many of you have seen the video of Black Lives Matter activists in Massachusetts speaking to Hillary Clinton.  The activists asked Hillary specially what changed in her heart and mind about issues surrounding mass incarceration and police brutality and how she had evolved on this issue.  She in return asked them what they hope to achieve as a movement.  They couldn’t answer and said it was up to her to help change the minds of mainstream America, they can’t do it themselves. Hillary responded to this by educated the protestors on having a platform with specific action they wanted.  I actually agree with her on this.  We can’t change everybody’s heart and mind.  There’s a vast majority of American’s who don’t understand Black Lives Matter and some who don’t want to understand.  Although I agree that changing hearts and minds could affect change long term in a few, we have to be honest with ourselves.  We can’t change everyone and the ones who are are on top, aren’t trying to hear that argument.  Politicians don’t operate with their hearts and minds and we’d be a fool to believe they ever will, they need talking points and things that they can sell in the few seconds of news camera time that they receive.

I couldn’t help but be embarrassed that we had no specific political legislation or laws that we wanted passed.  I went on and saw no national platform and no real concrete demands besides body cameras.  We can’t allow people to craft laws for us, we have to step it up and demand these ourselves.  I’m speaking on the national, regional and local levels.  Interrupting rallies and town hall meetings is fine, but if you have nothing behind it to stand on, then why are you even speaking up.  I know this movement is new for us and we’re still organizing, but an old 72 white lady shouldn’t have to tell you how to run your organization and what you need to do to be heard.  Ideologically, Black Lives Matter stands for something amazing but the world of politics is a different beast.

Let’s take a page from the LGBT activists. One thing I can say about them is that they’re organized and always have a plan.  They fought the issue of gay marriage not just with hearts and minds, but with pen and paper.  Behind the scenes in Hollywood, shows like Modern Family and Glee allowed middle America to see members of the LGBT community in their homes everyday.  Writers created characters who dealt with issues targeting the gay community like adoption and marriage equality.  Simultaneously, LGBT activists canvassed communities in several states educating people on LGBT issues including gay marriage.  On the legislation side, They fought laws and policies all the way to the supreme court and got gay marriage passed.  They attacked in on all fronts and that’s what Black Lives Matter needs to do if they want to be heard and understood.

I’m not accusing anybody of anything, this is just an honest critique so we can move forward.  Black Lives Matter has the momentum now, I would hate to see it wasted by just rhetoric, talk and idle marching.  People are only going to change so much, we see this with the recent events at the 1 year anniversary of Mike Brown. A year later and the police are still racist, still overly militarized, still assholes.  We need laws in place to help combat and undo systematic racism. You can check a few of my posts to see some laws I want to see passed.   I’m a supporter of Black Lives Matter and want to see it to far, however we need to step our game up.

TO see the full video of the Black Lives Matter activists exchange with Hillary Clinton, click here.


As a Black man, You’re Gonna Have to Earn My Vote in 2016

Black Community, Black Girls Rock, Black Lives Matter

Dear presidential candidates,

Gone are the days where I solely vote on a candidate because they are the lessor of two evils.  Gone are the days where I vote democrat just because it’s what black people do.  As a African-American male, if you’re not speaking on issues that affect my community in detail, i refuse the right to vote for you.  The Democratic Party has used and abused the black vote for too long.  None of the three democratic candidates, Hillary, Bernie or Martin have made racial justice a top priority in their campaign.  This needs to change and our voices need to be heard for once.   I’m sick of racial issues being ignored while our communities continue to be grossly affected.  Who will be the first candidate to rise up and unapologetically say “Black lives matter?”

Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley had a chance to engage Black Lives Matter protestors at a Netroots Nation conference in Arizona.  They fumbled almost every question asked to them, with Bernie Sanders completely ignoring the issue.  Granted, Mass incarceration and prison reform have come up as footnotes but racial justice as a whole needs to be addressed. Personally, I want a candidate who is well versed on issues of race and how it affects almost every system in our country.  Barack has done a great job in his second term brining discussions of race to the forefront and whomever is in office needs to continue this discussion , frankly and in greater detail.  Democrats have historically ignored black issues except when it could get them a vote.  Bill Clinton was loved by black americans, yet passed one of the most discriminatory criminal justice bills this country has ever seen.  This cannot happen again.   Cases like Tamir Rice, Sandra Blunt, Rekia Boyd, Natasha McKenna, and Jordan Davis need to be heard and addressed. Black Lives Matter.  We now have a voice and a community that cannot and will not be silenced.

Dear future candidates,

If you want my and many other votes, you WILL discuss police brutality, mass incarceration, the war on drugs, mandatory minimums, sentencing laws, prison reform, raising minimum wage, bringing jobs back to the inner cities etc.  These are not just black issues, but American issues that just happen to disproportionately affect people of color. Every American needs to be educated on issues that affect people of color because we’ve been hiding in the shadows for too long.