Weeks after unarmed teenager Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, the community is still protesting.
What some people fail to realize is this situation has transformed into something much bigger than Mike Brown. This is about Ezell Ford, John Crawford, Eric Garner, Renisha McBride, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Jonathan Ferrell, Darius Simmons, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Oscar Grant and the countless other black people who lost their lives due to systemic racism.
In the face of racism, black people need to stand united and fight for their rights.
Mike Brown was not the first black life racist America deemed dispensable, and it won’t be the last. It is evident that walking while black in America is a crime.
Black lives don’t matter here and they never have.
The same day Brown was killed rapper David Banner tweeted, “Our situation is more psychological than people will admit. Black kids kill black kids for the same reason cops do. They see no value.”
The only way we will see justice for any black Americans is if we first value ourselves, unite and organize within our own community and take our freedom. As black adults, it is important to teach our youth to value their blackness, learn their history and support their communities.
In the words of Lauryn Hill, “How you gon’ win if you ain’t right within?”
Having been following the events in Ferguson on Twitter and Instagram, I have seen many pictures. One of the more powerful images was of Bloods and Crips standing together in front of a store to prevent looting. If these two groups, notorious for being enemies, can come together for a common cause in the face of adversity, that leaves no excuse for the rest of the black community.
Think of how much could positively change within the black community if we channeled the energy we are putting toward Ferguson. It seems we can post pictures on Instagram or tweet about something, but days later, we forget about it. Let’s not allow this energy to die down like all the other times something bad happened.
As a black community, we must stop killing one another, putting one another down and one another last. It’s time for us to lift up one another, keep our money in our communities and look out for one another.
Our civil rights and community leaders must come forth and organize our communities as well as present feasible solutions to gaining freedom. Marching, moments of silence and taking pictures with our hands up are strong symbols, but they aren’t 100 percent effective.
We cannot expect to be free from systemic racism if we are dependent on our oppressors. Granted, the racist system we live in has a lot to do with why blacks are always at the bottom, but it’s time to take back our communities. We cannot expect the oppressor to just give the oppressed freedom.
Freedom must be taken. If that means putting up a fight, then so be it.
True freedom cannot come without a revolution, which is why the resistance to the curfew implemented by the Ferguson police department was so pertinent. Why should we follow laws that don’t truly protect us? Justice will not come from being passive. Bob Marley said it best, “Get up. Stand up. Stand up for your rights. Get up. Stand up. Don’t give up the fight.”
But in order to have a revolution, everyone must be on the same page. Unify, organize then revolutionize.
Taylor Simien is a 20-year-old mass communication junior from Lafayette, La.