By Natasha Hoyte, Black Woman and Activist
I hardly watch the news anymore and I had to limit my social media intake. I’ve had enough! It’s too much, the police brutality, black deaths, broken homes. This time around the images of #AltonSterling’s 15 year old son crying uncontrollably for his father and #PhilandoCastile’s girlfriend saying they detained and separated her from her child stuck with me. I’ve seen enough, video clips of families rocked by the trauma and torment of the execution of their loved ones, family friends and acquaintances. More black bodies than we can even count anymore.
A co-worker checked in to ask how I was feeling in the midst of the Black Lives Matter (#BLM) organizing, the police shootings and racial discrimination spiralling out of control. I took some time to reflect on the #blackexperience, the complexities of our identities, our collective experiences and the blatant disregard for black bodies. Only then I realized I felt a familiar numbness in my body. A habitual state of mourning, for the loss of black lives, perhaps.
Untimely death is a loss nothing could prepare you for. Families’ of the victims are left with unanswered questions, words and hashtags, grief from their loss and most often women in lone parent homes. Mothering the black community can at times be a challenging task. Being a single mother adds to the intersectionality of her life and the experiences of her children.
Unfortunately, no one from the black community is safe, plagued with racism and oppression in life and even in death. No matter what type of person #AndrewLoku was, how many interests #TrayvonMartin had or if #MikeBrown valued his future enough to plan to go to college. Regardless of whatever they thought their purpose in life was, racial profiling and lethal police brutality took away their last breath. But if there is no justice how could there be peace?
BLMTO and other Black Lives Matter Movements all across the globe are pushing back against anti-black racism and showing up in #blacksolidarity. We can’t stand by and act like violence can’t touch our lives. Many are calling attention to the violence in our communities, Celebrities Echo 23 Ways You Can Die While Black to give some insight to black people’s experience of systemic racism.
This hashtag was created in honour of Sandra Bland. A 28 year old black woman who according to Huffington Post in an article titled, “Sandra Bland Died One Year Ago” was pulled over by Texas police for failing to signal when she changed lanes. Was arrested and after about three days died suspiciously. Her death was ruled suicide and no one was indicted.
Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about the black revolution saying, “…It reveals systemic rather than superficial flaws and suggests that radical reconstruction of society itself is the real issue to be faced."
I don't know what happens next or where we go from here but I’m concerned about these senseless killings. Concerned because preservation of black lives is an afterthought. Concerned, about the world future generations of black children will live in. Sadly, that numbness begins to creep in again just knowing that my children, family, friends and community at large could be exposed to violence as witnesses or as victims at the hands of those who have the power and the privilege to do it.