Here's One Fire That Should Never Go Out in Baltimore
April 29, 2015Human Rights
Have you ever been in a position where you couldn't do anything? A situation where you had no options, no way out, no recourse, and were backed so far into a corner the only option was to lash out?
In city after city families lay to rest the latest victim of police brutality. If only the tears of mothers were mimicked by the stone cold statues of justice that claim to balance the scales. In today's "shoot first, plant evidence later" world, desperate citizens are left wondering if justice is anything more than a mirage in a dessert. Elected leaders point toward a blurred vision and swear that it's real, maybe even hand down a few indictments or call for a grand jury investigation. Survivors crawl toward a wavy figure thirsty for answers. But too often, when they reach it, there's nothing more than another mother's tears falling on her child's body that is filled with police bullets.
"A riot is the language of the unheard," Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. said at Grosse Pointe High School March 14, 1968. "There are two Americas. One America is beautiful for situation. In this America, millions of people have the milk of prosperity and the honey of equality flowing before them. ... This other America has a daily ugliness about it that transforms the buoyancy of hope into the fatigue of despair."
In nearly 50 years since King's speech, this war is still one we fight. One America was in the streets of Baltimore on Monday night while another, lacking empathy or understanding, filled feeds of social media. "Good!" one person exclaimed responding to an Associated Press photo of a police officer throwing rocks back at the crowd. "This is not a riot," another began. "It's an urban uprising against oppression and police brutality." Milk and honey vs. fatigue of despair.
On Tuesday morning, the sun rose on the smoldering ruins of a burned city, but in some still searching for justice, the fire continued to burn. The real tragedy of the night was not in the violence by the resentful or the looting by the poor, but in the fear and inaction of the hopeless, too filled with fatigue and despair to rise up once more.