A black man killed by the state that swore to serve and protect him;
Officers swiftly held accountable.
A surge of joy.
*Black officers swiftly held accountable.
I want justice but . . . .
I want justice.
I want to live in a country where Black People are not the state’s punching bag;
Dealt jaw-shattering hooks from redlined communities and breath-taking shots to the body from officers of the law.
How many breaths taken?
How many mouths wired shut?
I heard through the wire that change was coming.
I heard Black Lives Matter.
Will Black Lives Matter?
Will accountability look race-neutral?
Will I ever be free from this dissonance.
If Baldwin spoke to DuBois:
Would he counsel him to compartmentalize his rage;
Because the Black existence in these United States is characterized by double consciousness.
Today some may call it code switching.
But can we switch the code—a hard fork perhaps?
How long can a person navigate multiple worlds before becoming lost?
It is only by the strength of a People who persist despite being stolen from their land,
Yet continued to create new life—transforming their new land.
Dr. King described these People as transfixed by the guarantees constituted by their forced labor.
This land is not free without the People whose sweat, tears, and blood fertilized the grounds we proclaim as the Land of the Free.
The pursuit of happiness;
Rights endowed to all man by their creator.
But freedom ain’t free for some.
Services rendered and paid for with a bounced check.
It is time to cash in.
Mr. Booker T. Washington might agree, asking for Black capitalism to save the day.
In 2020, the state snuffed out another candle.
Every corporation pledged money.
In 2023, we are still dying—Black capitalism is not the solution.
Change happens in this country when there are socio-economic incentives for change—a policy window.
But windows don’t always stay open.
George Floyd’s state execution shook the world.
It put in front display, like the beating of Rodney King in the 90’s, the state-sanctioned brutality imposed on People since slaves first bound for the Eastern Shore in the 17th Century.
The social contract: citizens give up enumerated liberties to the state.
And the state provides (1) protection, (2), welfare, and (3) liberty.
Only if this contract was smart; we could ourselves, rewrite the code.
We could make it the law that the state must be held accountable when it deprives People of (1) protection, (2) welfare, and (3) liberty.
That might be a Herculean task.
But we could start by ending qualified immunity.