Consequences and Repercussions
Jul 21, 2013

How will America pay for its repeated incidences of injustice?

I completely understand what compelled the National Action Network to rally the masses at "Justice For Trayvon" rallies in 100 cities around the country this past Saturday, but I couldn't--in good conscience--venture out to the one held here in Philadelphia. The need for collective grieving, healing and activism is a noble one. I support the intention. But my warrior spirit is deeply desirous of something more proactive than marching.

I've been harboring a bit of guilt about this feeling over the past week, especially with the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom coming up in a little over a month. And perhaps that's the point. I am a woman who has grown up benefitting from the sit-ins, marches and other righteous forms of protest conducted during the 1960s. By the time I came along, black was beautiful and our community was ready to cash in on the hard-fought gains of the Movement. I grew up in a predominately-Black, yet integrated, world where I was consistently told that there was no one brighter or more deserving of success than me. And while we can now theorize about how integration, in many ways, undermined black wealth and community development, what we asked for was inclusion and access. The problem: Black folks weren't properly instructed about how to cash in on that access for long-term stability and power.

So when I hear a call for marches, understanding the promises that have already been undermined or reneged on from the Civil Rights Movement, I am not motivated to join in. Fifty years later, I believe that we should have perfected other ways to show strength, frustration and a willingness to create change. When Black folks say we're going to march, I imagine the "good ole boy" Establishment going into a desk drawer and pulling out a dusty, dog-eared manual on how to quiet down the rowdy Negroes until we fall back in line to the general order of things and are dissuaded from doing anything meaningful about our troubles. I am angry that in 2013, I am an Ivy League-educated Black woman who still causes people to skitter out of my way or clutch their bags tighter to their bodies when I pass them on the street. I am angry that, as a personality on a broadcast media outlet, I am forced to sometimes sugarcoat the full-out truth so my tongue doesn't stir up financial troubles for our small, independently-run station. And I am very, very angry that Black children are living in such deep poverty, poor education, emotional chaos and persistent violence as a never-ending waterfall of the residual racism that hasn't been overcome since our last time protesting and marching en masse.

I propose that those who feel an emotional or strategic benefit from marching continue to do so. I will work with another set of activists to continue refining our strategies and execution of those plans to create substantive change in our world. This is not an either/or situation, but rather a both/and and more proposition. While the marches are a great in-your-face move, I'll be working on the underground and back door approaches. And collectively, we will not let this energy fade away, again. We've got to stay angry. We've got to stay vigilant. And we've got remind mainstream America that when we are subjected to violence and injustice, it will not go down unnoticed and unaddressed. Come at us with anything but fairness and respect, and you will suffer the consequences and repercussions of your actions. Not a threat, but a promise. You have been warned.

Here is last week's playlist: