*installation by Hank Willis Thomas “Raise Up” series
#BlackLivesMatter is the new era of resistance that our millennials must make a stake at reclaiming their rights. Before you refuse to keep reading because the statement has been made several times before, take a moment of silence for #AltonSterling. Aside from this being the 558th hashtag used within 2016 associated with a life in grievance of losing a never ending battle, the number skyrockets with no change in verdict. Too often we see headlines with the intent of bringing peace by any means necessary but in true fashion, we lose momentum and wait until the next person becomes a hashtag or heated topic of conversation. Feeling helpless is no longer acceptable and you have the power to end it now.
The same night, we lost #PhilandoCastile. Less than 24 hours later a body was found hanging in Piedmont Park and may be ruled out as a suicide. We are running out of precious time and it makes you wonder where the hatred stems from. We should not unite only in harsh circumstances but gather and organize to produce the rights we are deserving of as human beings. With that said, the change begins with you and you alone. After you regroup from the initial anger, shock, and mental trauma, begin your work. Racism is like a row of staggering dominoes and will only stop after the final bone falls. In this era the moniker of monkey see, monkey do is still valid. The media portraying the negativity of our communities set negative connotations and examples of who we are as a people. No one can speak about the walk you take everyday but not speaking for yourself is the same as allowing for someone to speak for you whom has not gone through the beauty or burden bestowed upon your shoulders. We want to create a new domino effect to present the youth a standard to prove their abundance of special characteristics and that they’re worthy of equality. If we allow to accept the murders with no consequence then there will be a continuous acceptance in a lack of the black life.
When we step into our homes and let the news settle into our souls, there are sparks of emotions. Wise words of peace and rage come to mind just like the dark irony of “Strange Fruit” being relevant to this day. Our generation may feel like a form of instant gratification may be the strike for change. Think chess and not checkers to provide your people the justice several generations have made physical movements and wars over. You want a revolt but can do so by raising your voice (it’s not illegal yet people – speak up) and monopolizing on your purpose. Our message can be conveyed in every aspect of our culture which is the most followed culture ever created, mind you. Think of creatives like Kehinde Wiley’s portraits, Chance the Rapper’s lyrics of what it’s like to be a kid in Chicago, or even Elaine Welteroth who set a new tone at Teen Vogue to provide our young girls a dash of #BlackGirlMagic in every issue. The old-fashioned form of pacing the streets is still effective but as millennials our power is in our following. Make the world aware – set the standard of all lives being of equal value which in turn empowers our generation and the ones to come.
Embrace the magic of your melanin and let go of the past as our history shows where we have been but there’s no promise of where we will be. We are the difference in life and death so give people their roses while they remain here to smell the sweet scent of them. This fight begins with acknowledgment, education, and organization. If we uplift one another and stand for nothing less than our due rights, we could control the conversation. Take a moment to let the realty soak in and claim your power.
We wish all condolences to the hundreds of families who have suffered an inhumane loss and will speak for you as you are worthy.
MADE by Xuxa Day