Written by Naome Seifu
A Letter to Us
Stemming back centuries, black skin has always been a target. A color that is outcasted. A people overlooked. Over the past few weeks, it has become evident for many people that systematic racism is still alive and thriving. The racism that Rosa Parks, that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that Rep. John Lewis and countless others who fought in hopes for basic rights just a few generations ago.
What a tragic irony for black people who aren’t valued or represented by the country we built.
Black people built this country from the ground up – its foundation laid with the bone, blood, sweat, and tears of slaves. But it was never enough. When black people were “free” and excelled in their all Black cities like Tulsa, Oklahoma and many others – this country chose to bomb the all Black city and burn it all down, there was no justice. When a young Emmitt Till was murdered in 1955 for being falsely being accused of whistling at a young white woman, there was no justice. When Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X. – men who fought with the people for the protection and representation of black people were murdered, and again there was no justice.
And now, in 2020, we are facing two pandemics.
COVID-19 swarmed this world and killed thousands of innocent lives in a matter of weeks. In response, we were told to abide by the CDC regulations and quarantine. Little did we know, the whole world would end up watching a man who, as a child dreamt of being a justice on the Supreme Court, would have a police officer in Minnesota have his knee pressed on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. That would be the end of George Floyd’s life. His execution caught on camera in broad daylight for the world to see. But would his life and death had mattered if no one was there to record?
A young woman, Breonna Taylor – an EMT, would get shot and murdered in her own home because police officers stormed into the wrong house in plain clothes without announcing who they were. Her life was lost because her killers didn’t think her life mattered. But her life will always matter. George Floyd’s life will always matter. And now, on what seems to be a never-ending list of people whose lives were devalued by this country, Rayshard Brooks’ life will always matter.
The grind halting stillness of COVID-19 opened the eyes of most the world to see that systematic racism is still a well oiled machine, firing at all cylinders. A disease that has engulfs the souls of too many people.
Dr. Tony Evans once said, “racism isn’t a bad habit. It isn’t a mistake. It is a sin. The Answer is not sociology; it’s theology.”
Protestors, young and old, captivated the world when they took to the streets. People chose to step into a movement to say enough is enough. We see people of all colors, and all nationalities voice their anger that a Black life doesn’t seem to matter in this world. Why in 2020 is this still up for debate? How are we supposed to raise black children in a world that has already punished them? A world that will do everything it can to crush their dreams. How do we explain the injustice without stealing their innocence? How do we not get tired of being used and abused? Black children are raised in a country that doesn’t recognize their humanity.
When will there ever be a time where a black life is more than enough?
Regardless of every single odd stacked against us, Black people are resilient. Black people are champions. Black people have and will prevail. We must continue to protest and make our voices heard. In the midst of the pain, there is a beauty – that we can come together and shake up a city, a nation, a world – because that’s how important a black life is.
We cannot just sit still. We must continue to mobilize and vote. Not only at the national level but at the local level. Who is on your local school boards? Who are your city council members? Who are your police chiefs? Do you know who your mayor is and if those elected officials represent the values you believe are important? The district attorney and state legislators? Do all these elected officials value and care for a black life? Will they protect a black life? Will they fight for it? If you don’t know this answer, if you don’t even know who these people are, I urge you to do your research. And then vote. Make your voice be heard.
I end this letter with this:
“We’re literally at a deflection point and man. [George Floyd’s] death was a deflection point. We’ll master the sin of racism, or the sin of racism will master us.” – Pastor Patrick Ngwolo
May we always remember that no matter how dark and violent this world is, you will always be chosen by God. Your life is a life given by Him. It can be hard to remember that during such difficult times, but this world isn’t meant for us. We are meant to be with Him. So, take honor to know that you, in your many shades of Black, are an image bearer. That your life is valued and held by the Creator. There is no greater value than that.
A Black Woman