Sunday, July 12, 2020

Minnesota – Response

I’m angry. I’m frustrated. Another black body has been killed so viciously and openly for the world to see.

We are in a greater state of emergency far passed COVID-19. We are viewing more frequent the killings of not just black men and women but black POTENTIAL. We are watching the elimination of black GIFTS to this world. We are seeing the killings of black men so often there is not enough time to process the last one. 

Anyone who has viewed the video of George Floyd can see he was murdered. There’s no need for more evidence. There’s no need for an extensive prolonged internal investigation. It’s MURDER!

My heart bleeds and my fist tighten every time I see the modern day lynching of one our black men and women.

We have gotten so accustomed that we have allowed a system in place where we mourn a few weeks while the pages of life turn and our focus is somewhere else.

I’m angry as I read name after name after name after name after name of black men and women who were murdered by the same hands that were sworn-in to protect us.

I don’t want to hide my anger. I’m tired of biting my tongue when my people are biting the bullet time after time.

It’s expected that we as a people are to sit-back and allow an officer to suffocate the life out of another and we cannot stand up against it.

If we do; we will be hit with the baton. We will be taken down like an animal. We will be cuffed and thrown away to jail or even worse, killed.

It’s the same narrative just a different day. The names are different but the hurt is the same. The date may have changed but the ending verdicts are the same.

George Floyd this week – whose next week?

I’m reminded of the time some years ago me and a friend took a trip to Delaware. We left late and took the back way through the Chesapeake Bridge Tunnel towards 13 North. As we are riding listening to music and laughing (normal things while driving) flashing-lights are in our rear view. 

We had not sped. There were no weapons in the car. There were no drugs or alcohol of any kind in the car. We hadn’t been drinking. Yet on the side of a backroad with no street lights we spent the next 45 minutes searched. Our car searched. Sobriety test were given. We had to lay on the ground face first with me by the hood and my friend facedown by the trunk as we are being questioned about each other and the reason we were in the area. 

We hadn’t committed a crime. The only crime in that officers sight was the color of our skin. 

After 45 minutes we were given our ID’s and told ‘get on up the road’. In other words, don’t come back through here.

Immediately after, we were perplexed about the situation but as I think back there should of been more anger from us. There should have been disgust so strong within us that it almost prevented us from continuing to drive. We were not. It’s almost as if we expected this inequality treatment because we were black. Which is wrong!

Many people will ask did we get the badge numbers? Did we file a complaint? No, we didn’t. At the time our young minds were not thinking about that, we were happy to leave out alive.

Our mindset was only survival.

I salute organizations who are teaching on know-your-rights, protocols during traffic-stops and what to do after the encounter.

But the truth of the matter is a black man traffic stop is different than a white man’s. Even with our rights being mishandled our only objective was to leave ALIVE.

And I hate it that even in 2020 that has to be our level of focus; to stay alive.

We are witnessing the outcry in Minneapolis, Minnesota and many are focusing their speech on the protest. But if you are more concerned about the effect and not concerned about the cause YOU ARE THE PROBLEM. 

There would be no protest if George Floyd, Philando Castile and Tamir Rice were not murdered. There would be no riots if Ahmad Abrey, Sandra Bland and Oscar Grant were not murdered. There would be no outcry if Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Sean Bell were not murdered. The list goes on and on. Blacks are TIRED! We are fed-up of sitting on the sidelines while our children and loved-ones are getting slaughtered.

In 2014, I organized a movement in Newport News, MenSTAND, alongside strong brothers Marcullus, Knox, Keith Ingram, Greg Bryant, D’shawn, Benjamin, and others. We stood on the steps of sitting hall with the mission to pray. We prayed for our communities that were experiencing large amounts of crime specifically homicides.

We prayed and challenged all men to stand. We challenged men to refuse to be silent. This movement had given life to our city. Statistical records show in the following months crime decreased.

MenSTAND will be reborn.

In these troubling times we must let our voice be heard. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “A riot is the language of the unheard”. 

It is not just the absence of men that is the problem, it is the silence! We must continue to push our voice to be heard.

We must be vocal about every injustice that comes before us.

We must be vocal by teaching our children early the knowledge that came to us late.

We must be vocal through our pens and email by writing to local, state, and national law makers.

We must be be vocal through our votes by holding our elected officials accountable of their promises.

We must be vocal in our communities by selecting law-enforcement who are not threaten by the people they are sworn-in to protect.

When someone hurt they cry out. Minnesota is crying out. All across this county we are crying out with them. 

We must PRAY but we must not be PASSIVE. We must have FAITH things will get better but not FAIL to act now with our hands, mouth, and legs.

Grandmother sung, we shall overcome someday. Well that day has arrived.

This injustice fight is not just a black action, this has to be a Unity action.

Other ethnicities can not be quiet or choose to ignore what we are witnessing today. We will get through this together. There will be change. We will push through. We will not be silent.

Peace and Power to the family of Mr. George Floyd.

Rashad Cartwright

Pastor, Entrepreneur, Community Changer

Rashad Cartwright is an Entrepreneur, Pastor, and Community Leader. On September 23, 2016, Mayor Will Sessoms of Virginia Beach, VA, named September 23 'Rashad D.L. Cartwright Day'.