By Gail R. Jackson, Editor
No doubt protestors in America are outraged over the decisions by our justice system not to indict white police officers who were involved in several shootings and killings of unarmed African-American males. So am I. Words alone can’t express my anger. Every time a killing has occurred, from Trayvon Martin to the Eric Garner, I’ve gotten sick to my stomach because short of protesting, I can’t do anything about it. Black men are being gunned down by white police all across America but are not being held accountable. This madness has got to stop. I have a seven year old grandson so my maternal reaction is to protect him from this injustice. Of course, not one person can do it alone.
I am reminded of the pivotal role the church played during the Civil Rights Era. African Americans were sick and tired of being treated like they didn’t matter. In an effort to affect change, the churches were mobilizing points, people stuck together, many lives were sacrificed. As a result, through blood, sweat and tears, today African Americans are better off because of it. I believe that the time has come once again to address the racial divide that exists in this country. Police brutality won’t be ignored and I believe that the church should lead the effort. The church, the strength of the Black community, the most powerful institution we have, has got to stand up and say enough is enough. Church programs, musicals, and anniversary celebrations have their places, but the church must be about much more than that if the lives of our young men are to be saved.
It is my hope, my prayer that next year churches would come together in solidarity and purpose to adopt plans to build better relationships between the police and the community. Initiate social activities such as softball games, fishing expeditions, bowling tournaments, and camping. Involving local police in the lives of Black men allows the police to see young Black men as human beings and, as a result, end racial profiling. Black men would learn the job of the police, learn the law and the consequences of disobeying it. I don’t have all the answers, but I know that doing nothing to address this crisis is not it. Romans 12:9-10 (LB) reads, “Don’t just pretend that you love others, really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good.”
Tamir Rice was only 12 years old when he was shot down before he could comply with police. Amadou Diallo, 23, was shot 19 times while reaching for his ID that the police asked for. There are many other victims. When will the next police shooting of an unarmed Black male occur, and where? Will it be in our community, New Orleans, Marrero, Gretna? What other names will join those of Treyvon Martin, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and Amadou Diallo? Will it be your relative? Don’t wait until another murder of one of our boys or men occurs to get involved. Keep the protests going, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” “I can’t breathe.”
Please stand with me and say enough is enough. Get involved. This madness has got to stop. We must be proactive as a community; we must be our brother’s keeper.
So say it with me, “Not my Son.” Say it with an attitude, “Not My Son, Not My husband, grandson, uncle, pastor, neighbor’s son, church member’s son …. . “