Black Hope

INTRODUCTION

Dear beautiful people, I would first like to apologize for my absence on the site during this time. I am extending prayers, love and light to whoever may need it. During this season of seeking justice and racial equality, small businesses, markets, and other stores have been collateral damage due to the looting. Now, I have not thought about looting, but I understand it. The people are aware that the government and powers that be prioritize capital (money, possessions, objects) over the people. So, the people respond to this belief by destroying the world’s capital. Everyone has differing opinions, but I understand why this is currently happening in the world. Now, are there some folks who may not even care about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, and many more? Yes. However, we cannot focus on those individuals who seek personal gain and look at the collective. The world is angry with the loss and evident apathy toward Black lives. Black lives have always mattered, but the White dominant culture has sought to disempower, disenfranchise and demoralize Black people. The lives that have been taken cannot be replaced or brought back. I am saddened for those who are affected by the looting and destruction of property. I researched a bit more about looting to gain a better understanding. According to USA Today, “Hunt argued that the term “looting” minimizes the political implications of what people are doing when they rob stores. During the LA riots in 1992, which erupted after four LAPD officers were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King, there were scenes of people “looting” basic necessities, he said. “You had a huge immigrant population that was barely getting by, barely surviving, and people were going to drugstores and ‘looting’ diapers, things to make ends meet in their families,” he said. “To minimize that as just, ‘Oh, people are just looting,’ completely robbed it of the political content and the political possibilities that people are trying to communicate by taking a risk and getting involved.” In relation to the article, it is true that the term “looting” removes the political implication of what the people are doing. That act of robbing stores speaks to the people’s frustration with the current state of the world. Now that we have touched on the “robbing of stores” we can get to the next subtopic, which is what will be the next step of the current uprising?

WHAT DO WE DO NOW?

Now, every fight for justice has not been planned out to perfection. There were missteps. Casualties. Collateral damage. It comes with the territory of change. Change is uncomfortable. Change is difficult. Change is necessary. Here are the next steps towards getting justice for Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade and many more lives that have been taken due to police brutality/police misconduct. These steps provided below are from the Popular Democracy Organization.

  • Stop criminalizing everything.
    • If certain acts were not handled as “crimes” there would not need to be much police involvement. “Crimes” such as being in a park after hours, drinking alcohol in public, panhandling, spitting and sleeping on the subway. These may not be the most appealing acts committed by the people, but they do not necessitate police involvement. Some actions can be handled by civilians themselves. KAREN, there is no need to call 911 on the Black couple barbecuing in a public park, who may or may not have a permit. A lot of these situations can be de-escalated by the people themselves. I am sure that the police officers and National Guard have much more interesting things to do than try to figure out if a family has a warrant for a barbecue. Stop criminalizing everything, so that this does not happen in the future. How many of our Black brothers, sisters, genderqueers and non-binary folks have lost their lives due to a 911 call made by an onlooker or bystander, who falsely believed that the police officer would deescalate the situation better than the civilians? Most of these 911 calls are made by the Karens. The White women who are frightened for their lives and know that typically their white tears and white fragility will work effectively on law enforcement. Then, there are the Bobs. The White men who are ignorant to the fact that Black Americans and law enforcement have a contentious history since the enslavement period. Bob is not aware of racism, bigotry, police brutality, discrimination, prejudice, prison to pipeline system, redlining, Black Codes, Jim Crow laws, and so forth. Bob just knows that the police are here to protect the people and he hopes through his phone call that the situation will be desecalated. Before you make that phone call, be mindful of how this minor incident can go from 0 to 100 if the police are involved when they do not have to be. PERIOD POOH! If Omar is drinking on the curb, like Tabatha Brown said, “That’s his bizness”. In the case of George Floyd, law enforcement were called due to the claim that that Floyd’s $20 was “not real”. Don’t waste the police officers’ time. Handle it yourself.

 

  •  Stop using impoverished/poverty-stricken people to fatten city budgets.
    • Impoverished persons are those who have been reduced to poverty and/or financial insecurity i.e. Black people who live in urban, inner-city neighborhoods and communities.
      • An example of using impoverished/poverty-stricken persons: “Most courts can issue an arrest warrant if you don’t show up for your court date for a summons or ticketed violation. The result is people spending time in jail for not paying parking tickets. To make matters worse, the practice is incentivized. Court fees and added fines for not appearing in court or paying the original ticket often supplement city budgets, not to mention these warrants make it really hard to get a job in order to pay the fines you weren’t able to pay in the first place because you had no job, and hence no money. See the pattern?”
    • I know that this may sound like a broken record, but due to the White dominant system created out of greed from European colonizers and explorers, Black and brown people have been systematically oppressed which has resulted in the inability to access generational wealth, having a positive relationship with law enforcement, job security, and even having to establish the Black Lives Matter movement in itself is very telling of the current state of the world.
      • SOLUTION: “Here’s what you can do, according to the report: Pressure lawmakers to eliminate “failure to appear” charges in municipal court. Implement reminder phone calls and free transportation for indigent people with fines where needed. Offer alternatives to monetary payment — community service is an option. Implement a system where fines are dictated by people’s specific income level. And cap the amount of money a city budget can pull from these fines and fees.”

 

  •  Kick ICE out of your city. Periodt (Yung Miami) 
    •  I was today years old when I learned that ICE can ask your police department to hold someone suspected of immigration violations for up to 48 hours before they pick them up. This fuels racial profiling and it also makes people with potential immigration issues not want to come to police. According to the Popular Democracy, “Shut it down. The report suggests that cities sever ties between ICE and local police departments. ICE should not be able to request these holds. Nor should they have easy access to the address and names of family members of people detained by local police, as they do now.” So, by severing ties with ICE and local law enforcement, we will be able to decrease racial profiling, potential deportation, etc.

 

  •  Train police officers to be members of the community as opposed to patrolmen and women with firearms. 
    •  “Police should be trained on how to develop better relationships with their communities. This training should incorporate culture, diversity, mental illness training, youth development, bias and racism.” Law enforcement is supposed to protect and serve the neighborhoods and communities. However, these neighborhoods and communities are not aware of their local police officers and law enforcers. No relationship building has taken place. The police officers must be trained in order to form a positive relationship with the neighborhood and/or community that they serve. The reason why many folks do not care about law enforcement is because there is no connection between law enforcement and civilians. We do not even know about the local police officers that serve to protect our neighborhoods, so when they are called in our neighborhoods, it becomes contentious. The civilians feel that the law enforcement does not actually care for them, since no effort has been made on the law enforcement side. The law enforcers wish to protect the neighborhood, not realizing that they have not done the work to build a rapport with the civilians. This results in discord and disorder because the relationship has not been built between the law enforcement and the civilians.

 

  •  Treat addicts and mentally ill people like they need help, not jail! FACTS!
    • I learned in a TED Talk from a therapist, who suffered from drug addiction, that she defined addiction as “the delegation of emotions onto things outside of ourselves”. So, whether it’s pornography, drugs, sex, food, alcohol, shopping, etc., these are issues that should be catered to in a psychiatric setting. Incarceration should not be a jump gun impulse to a person that commits a crime. The essence of incarceration should be rehabilitation, which I used to believe that it was built upon. As I matured, I realized that the essence of incarceration has been mishandled and used as a way to “rid society of bad apples”. However, we can get back to rehabilitation and helping those individuals who are unable to delegate their emotions effectively. According to the article, “The report suggests training law enforcement officials to address these issues at their discretion, with the aim of guiding addicts and people who live with mental illness into treatment programs instead of jail. Legislators should be involved only minimally, mostly to provide funding. Also train police to better identify and confront these problems using de-escalation tactics, and keep track of results through frequent data collection and analysis.” 

 

  • These actions along with protests, signing petitions, donating to fund groups and associations that can benefit your communities and neighborhoods, reposting and posting on social media about incidents and occurences within the world that are racially fueled and voting during the midterm elections can be incredibly beneficial to the fight against police brutality. I am an avid supporter of voting for your cities’ mayor, senator, councilman/councilwoman, House of Representatives, governors, etc. As a Philly resident, I have to rely on the Pennsylvania governor, mayor, senator, House of Rep., and councilwomen/men. I truly believe that the Presidential office is only to hold a representative of the nation, but to really see results in your respective communities/neighborhoods, please check out who is in office in your city. Whether that is Philly, New York City, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, Phoenix, or wherever, please inquire about your local government so that you can get the immediate change that your place of residence requires.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, I want to send my Anita Baker (giving you the best that I got) to all of you LOL. All of my people who had to clean on Saturday mornings know what I am talking about. You know when you wake up and it’s 9 AM and your mom is playing one of the following: Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Anita Baker, Mariah Carey, salsa, bachata, etc. I just wanted to give you guys a laugh along with some information. I would like to credit my points above to the Popular Democracy Organization. I hope you all have an amazing day and an incredible weekend. Please remember that you are wonderfully and fearfully made. You are created in God’s image and likeness.

“Being Black is not something that we get to choose, but it is something that we get to cherish.” – Tha Songbird

MENTAL HEALTH CHECK-IN

  • I feel a bit down today. I am aware that I have Saturn in my first house, so I have trouble with self confidence and identity, but I am learning to be more comfortable in my own skin. I have tried for so long to be perfect. I have wasted so many years being this version of myself that isn’t authentic at all. Trying to please everyone and make everyone like me. Seeking validation and acceptance. Seeking love. Trying to impress people and convince them that I am funny, cool and attractive. Although, I should have been working on convincing myself of those things. For so long, I have felt inadequate. As a Black, gay man, it is tough to be confident because I am afraid if I will offend or deter people from my path. Of course like my heterosexual peers, I want to find a romantic partner, have a successful career with the kids, the house, the car and the financial stability. But, I want to be full in myself first. I have doubted my existence for years. I am finally learning to accept myself as I am. Acne scars and all. Skinny frame and all. Big head and all. Strawberry nose and all LOL. I have spent so long hating myself and it has done nothing but cause tears, heartache and needless suffering. Why not be kind to myself? What is the worst that could happen? Today was a hard day and I felt slightly depressed. This blog gives me a reason to speak, because without it, I do not know how I would be able to express myself. I have done so through art, listening to music, acting, journaling, poetry, but this blog has helped me so much with my confidence. I pray that you learn to accept yourself as you are. That’s love. Accepting yourself knowing damn well you got a Unibrow because of quarantine. But, who cares. Unibrows are fucking cool. Later beautiful human!

– Love, Noah (a Black man learning his worth slowly, but surely.)

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