Culture

Black Lives Matter. Eric Garner Was Last Month and Now Mike Brown

My spirit is bothered and my heart hurts because another Black boy has been killed senselessly by a police officer. Every day, Black and brown boys and girls are murdered without justice and without reason. But there’s a special kick in the chest when it happens at the hands of law enforcement officers. Because what are they enforcing besides the systemic genocide of people of color?

Last month, it was Eric Garner who was put in a chokehold by NYPD and it ended the asthmatic man’s life. There was video footage of that and the city’s medical examiner surprisingly made the right calling and ruled his death a homicide. Saturday, it was Mike Brown of Ferguson, Missouri, shot while unarmed with his hands up and on his knees. A police officer shot him multiple times as he was showing that he was no threat. His body laid face down and his blood ran in the streets.

There were many witnesses and footage on camera phones have been released. In broad daylight, in front of people, in the middle of the street, a police officer shot an unarmed Black boy several times. Because of what? Because he was EMBOLDENED enough to do it. Because that boy’s humanity doesn’t matter. Because he knew he could kill him and walk away. Because what’s another black boy dead?

Mike Brown Killed

Image by the Dream Defenders

Last night, people rioted in Ferguson. They burned down a store. There was chaos in the streets. This morning, the conversation shifted and people became more upset at the looting than the boy whose life was cut short because another racist cop felt trigger-happy. And that is absolutely ridiculous.

Rioting and looting isn’t the answer to the problem of police brutality but people don’t riot because it’s a random Sunday. They riot because they feel powerless and unheard by a system that purports to protect us but all it does is take our young, our old and our weak. People are sick and tired. People are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

If 2014 hasn’t done anything else, it’s told us that it’s open season on Black folks. Police are using us as target practice. Mike Brown’s killing in Ferguson is one of too many so when folks say police are basically licensed gang members, there’s truth to it. “To serve and protect white people and to shoot down any Black person who might make you uncomfortable.”

What do we do now? Where do we go from here when it’s another day and another one of our Black/brown young people killed for absolutely no reason? I have no answers. Just frustration.

A project called Police the Police created this graphic. If you’re ever a bystander to an escalating situation, you have the right to record what’s happening.

Record Police

There are to many Erics and Mikes and Oscars. TOO FUCKING MANY.

And before yall start commenting. If you put something even mildly disrespectful about Mike Brown or anyone else I’ve mentioned here, I will delete your comment and ban your IP address. I don’t have the time.

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22 Comments

  1. Milaxx
    August 11, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    My heart hurts. I was on twitter as the initial reports of this started trickling in. Like so many I thought, “Oh no not again!”

    What even more painful is the national reporting of it. I think back to Mad Men and how Don Draper would always say something to the effect that if you don’t like what people are saying, change the conversation. When all that was being said was that police had killed an unarmed black youth, the story didn’t seem able to leave the realm of social media. Yet somehow when these grief stricken and no doubt angry people began to riot and loot suddenly the news outlets reported on it, but always led with the looting and rioting. I hope it goes without saying that I don’t think looting is the answer. it is a symptom of people so tired of being mistreated they explode.

    I’m not writer and certainly not as articulate as I wish I could be. I just know that when bury the importance of a young man being murdered you are missing the point.

    • Monica
      August 11, 2014 at 5:45 pm

      Exactly! The media isn’t focusing on the true wrong that was done here and the wrong is the why you have people acting out. They only want to showcase the craziness. How about focusing on the blatant racist and murderous act.

  2. Millisa
    August 11, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    I have a lot of anger over all of the happenings of the weekend. I am a white woman, but I grew up in the NoCo (North County)/Ferguson area of St. Louis. I grieve for the family’s loss of their son. I mourn the destruction caused by the frustration and neglect. This was not justice. I cry for my community and its pain.

    You have put it into words much better than I ever could.

  3. L.Smith
    August 11, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    I think part of the problem is they see we have so little regard for each other’s lives (black on black murder) tht they really really feel like whts one more…. Certainly a few things need to be addressed and these incidences should / would be better used as a springboard for some introspection I don’t know exactly the how’s of fixing it but we know the whys and I just want to see a collective change. We are so much better than what we’ve become

  4. Michele
    August 11, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    I’m out of words and numb at this point. I didn’t even find out about this until today because I was off the grid yesterday at a family function. When I think of all my male relatives that I was with this weekend, ranging in age from 1 to mid-30s, I see them as wonderful young men with strong values who are doing positive things with their lives. But my heart just drops in knowing that outside of the warm embrace of family they are seen by too many as thugs/animals/drain on society that are expendable, because dead Black men…so what?

    My heart grieves for yet another family who shouldn’t have to go through this. Thanks Luvvie for speaking to my sadness and outrage so eloquently.

  5. Rox Fontaine
    August 11, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Rioting is what happens when LAWLESSNESS is met with lawlessness. There is no difference. As you stated, these lives don’t matter, so what does a building or a car or whatever matter to a group of individuals who have nothing else but they’re anger? America teaches us that if you can’t talk it out with the other side and/or control them, then go to war.

  6. Nicole
    August 11, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    I’m not trying to influence anyone’s religious beliefs, but this article really helped me to understand who is behind such terrible acts. It gave me some peace knowing times like these won’t last forever. —> http://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/world-peace-elusive/

    • August 11, 2014 at 8:47 pm

      As a Jehovah Witness myself, I have to remind myself who is really in control. Thanks for sharing this article.

  7. Monica
    August 11, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    I have family that lives in St. Louis and they have been reporting on this. My aunt was recording people rioting and she posted on facebook for these people to go home so the police do not have additional reasons to eradicate us from the earth. I was just having this conversation with my husband and when I tell you I was angry and practically shouting. He told me to calm down I speak as if this is my child. He is because I have three black sons who all have GPA’s over 3.4 and are in college or lining up scholarships to go to college. Every black boy that gets gunned down by an officer of the law or any other person is my son. Every man that dies is my husband. I am especially hurt and angry because this damb police officer will walk free because people are recording themselves looting and bragging on what they stole. In addition, the “eye-witnesses” each have conflicting stories and one with a guy who posted a video on FB verified that the boy stole something – why dude! Why would you post this, were you there, was it really you and you pinned it on him. He was talking about how this kid was a great kid and would hurt no one but you just hurt him with your post. You hurt justice being brought. His response was, no one called the police, the police can only identify someone by what they were told. The media has exonerated this police officer with the foolishness of our people. I am saddened and I am angry because I do not believe this boy’s murderer (yes, I said murderer because that was what he is) will not be brought to justice! He is currently on PAID administrative leave! WTF!!! Our people need to know their history and know that rioting and looting (burning your own neighborhood stores – your neighbors place of business) does nothing but hurt our call to justice and the case of yet another of our own taken down like an animal. Everyone needs to focus on what and why this is continuing to happen to our black men and boys and work from there intelligently and systematically instead of doing this dumb azz crap they are doing. While I can understand why some people loot and riot – they do it because a system that was supposed to protect has failed them miserably over and over again. So they attempt to make their voices be heard any way they can but we look like animals and heathens and we prove the white people right. We need to start proving them wrong! I need to go hug my boys (18 and 2- 16 year olds) and kiss them because this really could have been one of them.

  8. Mary Burrell
    August 11, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    I hurt my heart is heavy. Leaving that poor child’s body in the street for 4 hours. That is so evil. Prayers to the young brothers family. May he rest in peace.

  9. Courtney
    August 11, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    I’m just overwhelmed, watching the news, listening to the radio, and scrolling my newsfeed. The killings of young, black people especially male is completely out of control. Killing each other, being killed by police, randomly assaulted and killed by others for reasons I’ll never understand. As a mother, like how do you even raise a son to be strong and fearless without making him naive and unprepared for the reality that surrounds him?
    It hurts.

  10. August 11, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    St Louis was quiet today…what I mean is people tried to go about their day as if nothing happened. It was on the news all day today, but there was an interview that seemed to miss mainstream news today. The interview with the young man that was with Mike Brown, his complete account as to what happened and how he was gunned down by that police officer. I thought the rioting was awful, because once again the businesses that people depend on have been affected and it affects them in the end. Please check it out.

    http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/World/ID/2485993968/

  11. Kelly
    August 12, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Thank you, Luvvie for putting so many of our collective feelings into words. I just want so much better for all of humanity. I’m reminded of a phrase that Dr. Angelou often quoted (I think it’s by Terence) “I am a human, nothing human is alien to me.” I remember watching a clip of her speaking about when someone does something heinous and her response was that she chooses to use her energies to build people up, to do good and not evil. I’m trying so hard to hold on to that hope.

    Like a good friend of mine said, “I just don’t want to see any more examples of how unfair life is.” I want to persevere to embody hope. Thank you for providing actionable items for us if we are ever in a similar situation.

    And on another note…thank you for your humor. I re-read your pieces when I feel low and they bring me joy.

  12. MissTish
    August 13, 2014 at 6:54 am

    This is the reason I never wanted a son. Life is so fraught with danger and chaos for Black men that even when my son is sitting at the table eating food I’ve prepared for him, or in his room playing his videos too loud or singing in the shower, my heart sinks when I hear about violence against yet another mother’s son. People laughed at the crazy chick on Game of Thrones who raised her son in seclusion on top of a mountain, but I’m starting to wish I had that option, and my son is 21…The scariest part of this is that it feels like this extermination of young Black men is a .mandate from up high in the chain of command, like the pd’s from all over the country got together on some Skull and Bones tip and decided to systematically kill us. My son works the evening shift, typically getting home between 1-2am, and the sweetest sound in the world is when he comes to my room to say, “Mama, I’m home”. Too many of my sister’s will never hear that again.

    • Prettydarkskinnedgirl
      August 14, 2014 at 1:47 am

      My sentiments exactly! I’m the mother of two teenage boys that stay out of trouble & do well in school. We try hard to raise them right, teach them respect for authority & to be good people. My oldest son just graduated highschool & is preparing to start his first semester in college; my youngest is 13. I feel deep sadness every time one of these stories makes the news & I live in constant fear because they are becoming more frequent. I don’t even have words to describe the the way my heart seizes imagining what a mother, who just found out her son was murdered, must feel. I just bow my head & pray for her strength & peace & thank God it wasn’t my boys….this time. How do you prepare your sons to go into a world where the people that are sworn to protect them are the very ones they should fear the most? This is a legacy that we shouldn’t still be passing on to the new generations of our young men.

  13. August 13, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Oh Miss Tish. What you said is just breaking my heart. I cannot imagine the fear you have to live with. It’s not right.

  14. mzmiamiheat
    August 14, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I have two sons, just reading this made my heart ache. Smh…No words to even describe TRYING to understand his mama’s hurt right now.

  15. brittainny
    August 15, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    The more I inform myself on the situation in ferguson the more upset I become. That young man could have been anyone of us and it’s sad that it’s 2014 and these issues still are an issue at all. All I can think is that was someone’s child. My heart hurts for that family, that city and this country we live in.

  16. August 16, 2014 at 6:17 am

    […] 1 || Black Lives Matter. Eric Garner was Last Month and Now Mike Brown […]

  17. November 25, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
    -Malcom X

    I am so saddened by our country and the white thugs who run it. I have hardly any words. I am not black, but a mexican/korean american but this affects me all the same. Non whites lives don’t matter to them. Very scary. It HAS to change.