Observations of life by author and poet Charles L. Chatmon. (Matthew 16:18)
In my library I had a book on my shelf from Time Magazine reflecting on important events of the Millennium before the year 2000. Based on current events surrounding the murder of George Floyd by one Minneapolis police officer and the subsequent worldwide protests, it can be said that this might be a turning point not only for this year or century, but possibly this millennium. This is not some wild excitable exclamination, never before have there have been protests of this magnitude, this vast over the murder of one Black man which was widely seen by all. Perhaps the savage, vindictive manner in which Mr. Floyd met his end persuades this generation and others following it to end the institutional, systematic, mental practice of America's Original Sin; racism.
I have been telling folks who will listen that the conditions are eerily similar to 1991/1992 when the Rodney King beating/Latasha Harlins murder occurred. We witnessed these acts of violence, were outraged, protested and somehow waited for 'justice' to take its course. Predictably, both Harlins and King were denied true justice when a court of law in one trial, a judge on the other ruled in favor of the wrongdoers. There are a myriad of examples where the murders of young men who share this author's ethnicity never made it to court and once they did, justice was not applied. This is the prime reason why folks in my neighborhood shouted, 'No Justice, No Peace'. As the past month proves in the court of public opinion, that may change. The Confederate flag, a symbol of a hostile takeover by one region over this country has been banned by the Navy, NASCAR, statues honoring defeated generals are slowly removed in those parts in the United States of America where that flag should have no meaning. In years past, our country's laissez-faire attitude would be indifference about where that flag was flown, who wore it and so forth. This political advertisement captures the accurate term for this flag which is fast losing its shaky stature here in America:
With these surprising changes in our country and world, one might think '"perhaps this time! Yes! This time justice will be served!" To that I say, what if it's not? What if the peaceful protesting, slogan chanting and emotional calls for 'defunding the police' fail in convicting those officers responsible for Mr. Floyd's murder? I say this from experience: in 1992 we were so, so sure the videotape would put those four policemen in jail! Maybe Latasha didn't get justice, but King would! The videotape proves it! Unfortunately on a late April 1992 afternoon in Simi Valley, the fantasy of a conviction ended. You know the rest by now.
What's different is that we live in the twenty-first century right now full of COVID-19 and a less perfect union. Social media influencers and talking heads on YouTube won't save us from any political candidate or any imagined nefarious plans by the powerful. Yet, there are plenty of young people, Black young people who have seen the murders of young Black men in Florida and Missouri with their killings roaming free on road trips may be the last straw. They appear to be energized, focused and determined to end this Original Sin once and for all. Perhaps with all their hashtags, social media engagement, more vocal leaders, this will finally be the change all of us need to live in a peaceful, more rational society and earth. Past history shows us that the causes we read about including in a magazine highlighting great events were won by a great outcry from the people to declare 'enough, no more!'. This time the whole world is looking at the United States of America for its response to racism. The big question is, what will our answer be?
The rest I leave to you.