Channeling Twisted Sister – May 30, 2020
Minneapolis is on fire, and Twisted Sister’s “We’re not going to take it” is playing over the hotel lobby speakers where I’m writing this.
I tab over to Twitter on my laptop and see one of Donald Trump’s tweets flagged for inciting violence. The tweet was sent around 1 a.m.
The hotel lobby TV is playing CNN and they’re talking about one of their own: Omar Jimenez, a black CNN reporter, was arrested on camera for no apparent reason. He was simply doing his job covering the George Floyd protests and when approached by state police officers, he asked where he should move to in order to comply. Instead of directing him where to go, he was handcuffed and taken away. Josh Campbell, a white CNN reporter in the same area, was questioned but not arrested.
CNN now has the Governor of Kentucky on to talk about the protest over the police shooting of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman shot by police officers in Louisville. As I read about the Louisville protest and start to understand more about the Taylor story, I see headlines about more protests happening in Phoenix, New York, and Denver.
As I look around the lobby, I see nobody else wearing a mask. I’m reminded we’re over 100,000 deaths due to COVID-19 and that this pandemic is disproportionately impacting black people.
The world is on fire. Donald Trump is throwing gasoline on it. Twisted Sister is no longer playing over the hotel lobby speakers but has found a comfortable place to play on repeat in my head.
I sometimes trick myself into thinking I’m doing my part. I watch and read the news a lot. I host a podcast where I interview politicians who want to change the world. I tweet about why Donald Trump sucks. Thanks to my brother, I even rock a Jacksonville Jaguars mask in public spaces. The reality, though, is that “my part” is an arbitrary limitation I impose so I can feel good about a world that’s still unjust, unfair, and cruel for so many. It doesn’t mean I should walk around feeling shitty all the time or become cynical about the political process or legal system. Of course, that will happen, and when it does I can recognize those feelings and use them to further challenge myself to do better. I need to listen to more black voices. I need to press further in my interviews on how these candidates will truly create change. I need to recognize my own biases. I need to put my money where my mouth is. And most importantly, I need to never stop.
I’m going to shut up for now and put some money where my mouth is. If you can, here are a few great organizations you can support:
Black Lives Matter – https://blacklivesmatter.com
Minnesota Freedom Fund – https://minnesotafreedomfund.org
Southern Poverty Law Center – https://www.splcenter.org
Black Youth Project 100 – https://www.byp100.org