I’m from a small town in Maryland called Edgewood, about 20 minutes north of Baltimore. From a young age we were made aware of the violence and negative aspects of Bmore. But being the closest large city, it was also our local getaway; a place to be exposed to culture, sports, entertainment, great seafood, and all things Maryland. While shows like The Wire gave society a glimpse of the streets, we went to Baltimore for the beautiful view at the Inner Harbor, a free sample of chocolate from the Fudgery (where Dru Hill got their start), the top artists performing each summer at Afram and Artscape, and of course to cheer on our beloved two-time Super Bowl Champs the Ravens.
Baltimore, MD may be nicknamed Bodymore, Murdaland but never has it been viewed in the light recently shown in media. The influx (or at least the recent exposure) of police brutality in America is not only sickening and disturbing but unacceptable. Not because it’s something new that hasn’t been occurring in history for centuries, but because it is proof that in 2015 the black race is still considered barbaric or animalistic to this country. Now that this issue hits home, it is even more reason for my home state to come together in fighting against this issue.
It has been proven time and time again that by societal standards there is no value to the black man’s life, which as I’ve stated before means there is no value to the black woman’s life either. We are the group of people birthing these young men. They are our sons, brothers, husbands, fathers and the ones whom we love and cherish. So when their lives are taken, ours are taken as well.
The murder of Freddie Gray, yes I consider it a murder, this is not a news site so I can say what I believe is truth (which is what the media does but by fabricating stories to tarnish the black race), increases the rage that our community already suffers from due to past treatment. It adds fuel to the residue of cases including Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and my friend Zaus Barnett who was shot and killed in Atlanta, GA by a police officer in 2013. It adds to the frustration of an inferior community of people controlled by supremacists who create a bondage nearly impossible to escape.
So when people act out in violence, I cannot blame them. I do not condone it, but I understand the feeling of being so bound to the point of explosion. When it appears that nothing can be done to change a situation, people tend to take a negative approach to show their inability to stand their conditions any longer.
Media is now reporting that opposing gangs in Baltimore are standing together to fight against cops. Headlines report, “Gangs Threaten to ‘Take Out’ Police.” What can I say, I do not put it past the oppressed individual to retaliate but I also do not put it past supremacists to seek new ways to get away with killing off black men.
Today was the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray who was beaten, arrested, and not given immediate medical attention for running from a cop about 15 days ago. He died with 80% spinal cord damage.
Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings spoke at the funeral, “Did anybody recognize Freddie Gray when he was alive?” he asked. Cummings said that Gray joined the church in 2001. He was in youth choir and was a junior usher. “He loved church,” Cummings said. Gray also played football. “Did you see him?” the representative asked.
The questions that Cummings raised were not based on the media attention that has the whole world knowing the name Freddie Gray but based on an entire race being ignored. Blacks struggle for attention in every arena. Turn on the Oscars, how many black faces do you see? Walk into your local corporate office, how many black CEO’s do you see? This is not a testament of the inadequacy of black people but the failure of a nation to accept large amounts of them in power. We are taught early on in life that we have to work 100 times harder than whites in order to gain success.
Now once again the question is posed, “So, what do we do now?” We were told education was the answer so we went to college and earned degrees. We were told that becoming a leader was the answer so we moved into the White House. But matters continue to rise and no solution has evolved. I think it is time we go back to the basics; look at the tactics of the leaders before us that created change and activate their philosophies while implementing our own. Clearly we have strayed and it is now time to get back on task towards change and equality.
-Renée Gibson Twitter: disclosednative IG: ms_disclosednative