So much time has passed since my last post. I truly miss connecting with you. Now that summer is almost over, and my vacation and travel schedule has leveled off, you will be hearing from me much more often.
Throughout my travels I have been following the events of the past few weeks. The first incident that comes to mind is the tragic death of Michael Brown, and the impact on his family and the people of Ferguson. I also find myself thinking about Michael’s friends and classmates. How will they cope? Will steps be taken to ensure that his classmates have access to grief counselors? How will history record this horrific incident? Most important off all, after the media leaves, and the 24 hour news cycle moves to the next breaking story, who will speak for Michael Brown? Will he and his parents be treated with the grace and respect that they so rightly deserve?
This tragic end to a young life, filled with hope and promise, has cut to our core; giving way to a resurgence of issues we naively hoped were in the past. Despite the best efforts of our civil rights leaders, academics and influencers, prejudice, hatred and fear still exist. Unless we can create a space where honest conversations can take place around issues of race and perception, these emotions will continue to confront and challenge us.
Shortly after the news of Michael Brown’s death was publicized, men and women from all over America made their way to Ferguson. As with all tragedies, there are always opportunists and detractors, but I believe that the people who made the journey were motivated by a sincere desire to stand in unity with Michael’s family. At the end of the day, their precious gift has been taken from them. Nothing will take away their pain, but we can help hold them, and surround them with love up at a time when they need it the most. I watched as Michael Brown’s parents spoke to the world with such great composure and “dignity.” To be completely transparent, I spent the past few days searching for that word, which I have not heard used much since my grandmother died. I remember hearing her words “dignity is the one thing no one can take away from you, unless you surrender it.”
The next few months will be long and arduous for Ferguson, particularly as the world will be watching. While those who made their way to stand in solidarity at the beginning of this tragedy will eventually focus on other events in their lives, new strangers will come to take their place. They will stand united in their grief, their anger and their disbelief. They will stand because this is what we, as people of African-American descent, have done throughout our fight for social justice in this country. This most recent situation brings to my mind a quote on dignity:
I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have
three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and
dignity, quality and freedom for their spirit.
I believe that what self-centered men have torn down,
other-centered men can build up.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We at Brooklyn Legends join the world in celebrating the life of Michael Brown. We stand united with his family and we pray that God grant them peace.