Lift Every VoiceSeptember 21, 2016
For many people, the only stars and stripes they know are the ones they saw after being beaten and the ones photographed on the backs of their ancestors.
I made the decision to stop pledging my allegiance to this country my junior year of high school during a JROTC lesson as we broke down what it means to do so. Here’s the meaning sourced from Restore The Pledge dot com.
“I pledge allegiance”
(I promise to be true or follow and obey and never to renounce, desert, or betray)
“to the flag”
(to the symbol of our country)
“of the United States of America”
(each state that has joined to make our country)
“and to the Republic”
(a country where the people choose others to make laws for them —a government for the people, by the people)
“for which it stands,”
(the flag symbolizes the country)
(a single country)
(I acknowledge the dependence of our people and our Government upon a supernatural being)
(the country cannot be split into parts—recalls the Civil War and the triumph of federal union over states’ rights)
“with liberty and justice”
(a balance between equality and individual freedom)
(for each person in the country)
Since the founding of this country it has been made clear that some things do not apply to everyone…
At sporting events I do not place my hand over my heart. I, too, sing America but the Black National Anthem. Our songs are different. One was composed by oppressors the other by my ancestors.
I stand with Kaepernick.
Video Courtesy of Committed to Sing’s YouTube Channel
I am outraged by the reoccurring immoral killings of black people across this country. Since Kaepernick took a knee protesting the national anthem 16 people have been killed by police officers including Trye King, Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott.
On Friday, September 16, 2016 around 7:30pm in Tulsa, Oaklahoma Betty Shelby took Terrence Crutcher’s life. She took his life from his family, friends and community. Trained to kill, with a single shot she stole his life.
Before dying in cold blood Crutcher stood with his hands up. He did not die as a result of his car breaking down but because of Shelby’s “big bad dude” perception of him. Shelby is a reflection of America’s heart [hate] issue.
Tulsa Police Department
Her life was NOT endangered. He was NOT breaking any laws. His hands were up. He was Black, stuck in the middle of the road and breathing.
I wonder how Dave Shelby, her husband and fellow member of the Tulsa Police Department, felt as he watched his wife gun-down Crutcher from the police chopper that captured the moment?
I cannot imagine the pain his family and loved ones feel although I’ve watched this narrative unfold time and time again.
On September, 20, 2016 Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed by a Charlotte police officer. Hours later the people of Charlotte took to the streets.
Last night, I watched several Facebook Live videos including one reported by Fox 46 of the uprising in Charlotte with about 50,000 other people nationwide.
The live videos from both citizens and reporters were raw, emotional and hard to watch. Same narrative, different city.
You can read several reports of each deadly encounter, watch the videos or scroll down timelines across platforms to see how this nation feels, divided and all, but no one will ever know what Crutcher’s, King’s or Scott’s last thoughts were or if they knew their fate because of the history of this country.
Something has to change.
To claim to be neutral is to be silent. It is time to lift every voice.