Unity is the core of this think piece I wrote in August of last year, inspired by responses to the Mike Brown murder. That post is a vague break-down of my view of life on this planet and how it is all connected. I believe that our natural flow has gone off course, for whatever reason.
At that time, I wondered why anyone felt the need to justify an armed, fully adult man trained and paid to protect civilians murdering a teenaged male in the middle of the street, with multiple bullets. I wonder why even a trained police dog’s rights for justice are acknowledged, but not a young black man. I wonder why many would bring themselves to divert the attention to other social injustice issues that they feel are more important than racially-motivated beatings, like gang violence or rape. Pain is pain. People feel what they feel. We should be able to identify with pain, regardless of circumstance.
I believe that all hate crimes deserve revelation and justice, but I also understand that this is not of value within the reality of others, no matter how they try to justify their harshness. The odd thing is that many of the struggles we face result from one flawed system. Why do we even think to point at the individuals oppressed rather than press the oppressors? Why should a person feel that they must to change the way they feel comfortable dressing in order to keep from offending someone who just might find a reason to shoot them? I wondered, do people react as indifferent or attempt to divert the focus because they cannot handle these intense situations? Could they actually care so much that they don’t want to deal with the feelings at all, like some of us who suffer heartbreak? Or, is humanity really in danger of desensitizing itself? I think about this a lot and I realize that some of us have not traveled deeply enough within our beings to place ourselves in another’s experience.
I realized that ignorance also plays a grand role in all of this. Ignorance of self and ignorance to the details of crimes committed against people of color will allow a person to maintain a narrow, ego-driven view which won’t allow them to see beyond their own bubble. While we have come far since the days when people were in the street literally fighting and dying to be considered a human being by all (which was only a couple of generations back, I mind you), the fight for human rights continues. Doing absolutely nothing will only prolong the changes we mythologize each time we disconnect ourselves from social injustice. This is where individual power makes a difference. Knowing your power is being able to accept who you are and standing up for your fellow being when they are being treated unfairly. It is as easy as my deciding to bring my camera to the AnswerLA rally and using The Frolic to channel what I took from the experience for you to absorb. Perception is a power.
Know your power.
The Los Angeles rally for Freddie Gray was reflective of the city’s cultural diversity. I was energized when I noticed the unity amongst people of color. Listening to the humbling stories the speakers shared about police brutality left me with a sense of community I have never felt before. Everything I absorb that day debunked the discussions I saw online and hear around me in life. It proved to me that there are others out there who care enough about life to force those who sweep local hate crimes and brutality under the rug to pay attention, at the very least. We met at L.A.’s City Hall and marched through the streets of downtown. There was a very strong police presence, but the protest went on peacefully.
I can say that I have felt powerless, for a long time. I once believed that I would never get my way as I dreamt in my mind, whether it was due to strict religious ideals keeping me from my true desires, to physical struggles, to class, and an overall lack of self-knowledge and self-love. And I accepted my imagined fate, reminding myself of it each day. Since breaking out of this tormenting mindset, I learned that I am full of endless, loving energy, radiant enough to allow me to generate my own movement. It took a shift of my perspective (self-discovery) and a little internet magic to help me see things more clearly than before. I found that I was not alone in any of my feelings, as I always believed. We only need to find each other. When we each make a move into being more embracing, we will collectively heal.
If we don’t stand for something, we will fall for anything.
The power of finding each other and unifying relates to an idea which speakers like actress Jennifer Lewis, explained to us at yesterday’s rally. She said, of the youth and revolution, that her generation did not have the internet–but we do. We have the freedom to send our voices as far as we like. This is power. It is a luxury to those who were nearly voiceless back in the 60’s. Looking around every day, I realized that people feel small and irrelevant when it comes to the world outside of their jobs, homes, and circles of friends. I imagine that if I were to teach my children what I know, they might also teach their children and friends about the importance of embracing who they are and their voice. I also imagine that I won’t even need to teach them much because by then, the world will have shifted into embracing who we are rather than what we’re told to (not) be.
Healing will take place. People will come to accept themselves and each other. For now, we are the ones to start that wave of change in our own lives. Spreading your consciousness makes a huge difference. Think about it, for a moment. Think about the fact that you are reading this. We contribute to a generation which is constantly connected. What you choose to share becomes a part of this ever-going stream of information. So, let’s imagine what it might look like if people (adults, teenagers, working class, upper class and celebrities alike) who have these fifty to even thousands of followers on social media, were to collectively focus on sharing racial injustice and as often as their self-promo, funny memes, art, and whatever else interest them. There would be a huge shift in power from, say, the media’s heavily altered and biased coverage, to the people. Mind you, these recurring crimes directly impact the present generation who are more open with their identities. Taking that further, let’s imagine that we managed to come together as one without the idea turning into jokes about hippies, or without it turning into fear over becoming martyrs.
Wow! I believe we might have a powerful revolution at our door. I want a revolution driven by love and compassion. I wonder if you are ready, because there might come a time when one cannot ignore it. What do you think? Please let me know your thoughts below as, I don’t often get a explore this in-depth. I also added a gallery of my photography taken at the May 2nd rally, below. Please credit cosmicfrolic.com, if you use them.
Images by Candace Renee of cosmicfrolic.com