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    Not An Update

    I know quite a few of my readers, and people on this platform in general, are not American. However, I would be remiss not to acknowledge the pain my community is suffering. I weep at the loss of another unarmed Black man in America. I am a bi-racial (Black and White) woman who grew up in Philly. I have seen – firsthand – the brutality, profiling, and injustice faced by Black family members, friends, and neighbors. George was most certainly not the first to die at the hands of this racist system, but we protest in hopes that changes to the system may make him the last.  America is under siege – by this racist, incompetent administration and by the faction of American’s that support the puppet who currently occupies the office of president. Black America has been under siege for 400+ years.
    Unfortunately, I have been unable to protest on the ground at this time due to my current covid-19 positive status. However, I continue to make my voice heard online and provide support to my community in any way I can as we RISE UP! As I FaceTime into protests and view protests via Instagram Live I want to make known that the majority of protesting across this Nation is peaceful – protesting for justice, for the arrests of the other 3 officers involved in the murder of George Floyd; involved in the murder of Breonna Taylor, for systemic change, for to go for a run, cell CDs, sleep in our homes, drive our cars, walk home, to LIVE – to BREATHE! However, when day turns to night the protests have been co-opted by opportunists using this pain and unrest to loot and steal, destroying many black-owned businesses and communities. Along with those opportunists, there are provocateurs – people coming in only to incite violence and damage. They are not fighting with us – they are fighting against us. They slip in during the cover of night to undermine the very purpose of our protests. We can also see – BY VIDEO EVIDENCE – that many peaceful protests were escalated by police themselves. Imagine that, police brutality happening at the protests of police brutality. Showing up in military grade riot gear is escalation enough, but the continued use of tear gas and rubber bullets (which still have metal cores) on peaceful protestors standing with their hands up chanting further proves the disgusting power disparity, injustice, and brutality between our communities and the police.
    #TrayvonMartin #EricGarner #JohnCrawford #MichaelBrown #LaquanMcDonal #GeorgeMann #TanishaAnderson #TamirRice #WalterScott #FreddieGray #SandraBland #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastille #JohnEdwards #BothamJean #AtatianaJefferson #BreonnaTaylor #AmaudArbery #GeorgeFloyd            #SAYTHEIRNAMES                #BLACKLIVESMATTER          #LETUSBREATHE
    I will leave you with this: the eloquent, galvanizing words of Maya Angelou
    “Still I Rise”
    You may write me down in history
    With your bitter, twisted lies,
    You may trod me in the very dirt
    But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
     
    Does my sassiness upset you?
    Why are you beset with gloom?
    ’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
    Pumping in my living room.
     
    Just like moons and like suns,
    With the certainty of tides,
    Just like hopes springing high,
    Still I’ll rise.
     
    Did you want to see me broken?
    Bowed head and lowered eyes?
    Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
    Weakened by my soulful cries?
     
    Does my haughtiness offend you?
    Don’t you take it awful hard
    ’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
    Diggin’ in my own backyard.
     
    You may shoot me with your words,
    You may cut me with your eyes,
    You may kill me with your hatefulness,
    But still, like air, I’ll rise.
     
    Does my sexiness upset you?
    Does it come as a surprise
    That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
    At the meeting of my thighs?
     
    Out of the huts of history’s shame
    I rise
    Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
    I rise
    I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
    Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
     
    Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
    I rise
    Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
    I rise
    Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
    I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
    I rise
    I rise
    I rise.

    Comments

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      I am from the Netherlands and my heart is bleeding for you and the others. It is nothing short of terrible what happens in your country. The hatred, violence and intolerance for all people who do not fit the perfect picture that other people have in mind.

      The killing of innocent (black) civilians by the police is a shame and they often get away with it. This is (almost) unthinkable in my country.
      Unfortunately, it is everywhere that peaceful protests are disrupted by antisocial people who think this is a reason to plunder and destroy and even make innocent victims.

      I hope you will finally be heard, but as long as you have this President who almost encourages this behavior, I wish you all the strength in this fight.

      Stay save and healthy 🙏

      #BLACKLIVESMATTER!!!!

    2. Hey Elizabeth,

      I am an American & currently livein south Texas – historically a Republican state. However, that mind set is changing & I hope in this upcoming election, we will have a Democratic state.

      The recent events against Black Americans is just intolerable. And you are right that this has existed for far too long.

      I am also from Philly – borne & raised in the city in the 1960’s. I experienced racial integration in my schools & my life. Two of my very best friends growing up were African American. I myself have a black lineage as part of my family tree.

      Like you I am totally disgusted with the current administration in this country & it’s twisted view of our democracy. Trump is a bastard with petty views & he demeans everyone who doesn’t agree with him.

      We need real courage in our country to change the attitude of prejudice & support of social & racial justice that we need. There will need to be change in our constitution, our president & Congress for this to happen.

      The color of ones skin should not make a difference in how you are treated or loved.

      I live in Houston & plan on supporting the rally on Tuesday when his body is returned to the city.

      Thank you for your courage to write this.

      As always,- United in our purpose & we will succeed.

      Peace to all!!

          • Hey Collins! Thank you for POV. I do see that Texas is changing and there is a good possibility that the state will turn blue this election. Getting as many progressive candidates in the House and Senate is so important because we cannot compromise on this issue – it should not be a debate. You are absolutely right – this “president” has got to go!

            I grew up in West Philly in the 90s, now I live in a suburb just outside of the city – I still consider myself a Philly girl! :-)

            • Hi Elizabeth,

              Wow, amazing that we are both from the City of Brotherly Love!!!!!!!

              The birthplace of the nation – but only for some – unfortunately not all.

              I still have family on my side and my wife’s that live in the PA/NJ area. Small world.

              As a country, we need to bring it out of the 18th century when our foundering fathers created this nation & create, change, update or laws & constitution to reflect the wishes of ALL of our citizens, not just the 1% at the top. We need to change the terms on the people we elect to office & vote them out if they don’t make the changes we want.

              I will be working to get out the vote in November!!!!!!!

              Stay safe & blow Philly a big kiss from me.

              Thanks

    3. Elizabeth

      Our country is experiencing an unimaginable amount of discontent and many feel the only way is to be violent to have their voices heard. I live in San Diego in a community that is shifting from very conservative to more moderate and Saturday night the peaceful demonstration ended up in a riot with many building burnt down which in the end only impacts people’s jobs. My wife was delayed coming home for 3 hrs on the highway because it was blocked off. I fear that this is only the beginning as the divide is getting bigger and bigger.

      The loss of another Black life due to policy brutality is forcing communities across the nation to rise in a manner that has never been seen before and hopefully never again. The leadership of this country must recognize that the USA is a melting pot and all lives are equally important.

      All I can say to those living in the USA is…vote… vote… vote. Participate in your communities. Complacency got us here and action and awareness is the only way out of it.

      Be safe

        • Thank you for your words. You know, some of the violence and looting is coming from outside agitators on the right looking for a fight, but I think some of it is desperation. Before the lockdown we had millions of people – whole communities – unable to make a living wage (even when working multiple jobs), unable to feed their family, have adequate housing, have access to affordable medical care, etc. Meanwhile, corporations are making millions off the backs of these same communities. Then, these same communities are locked down for months, most unable to work, and given a measly $ 1,200 check as compensation. We’re seeing desperation and exhaustion from the “American System” as a whole.

    4. Superbly written. I echo your sentiments. The current person in the highest office in our country speaks the rhetoric that mobilizes and incites racist acts. He speaks freely that way himself which makes people who feel this way continue to freely commit heinous acts such as what has happened to yet another African American. I am keeping us all in my prayers.

      • Yes, yes! He incites this! He wants this! He wants this nation to return to a time when being an overt white supremacist was okay. Black men are being lynched in the town square and they’re ruling it suicide. His base is retaliating for us daring to say no more! But we will rise!

    5. Thank you for addressing this. The pressure here in the USA is growing every day. (i did not intend for that to rhyme). It’s a challenging time in our nation’s history but I’m so glad it”s here. At least we are looking at the issue. I’m Black (ADOS: American Descendent of Slavery) and the tension and fear is very real. What has been encouraging is seeking my non-Black friends stand up and fight for justice and true equity.

      Writing and posting has been somewhat of a safe and comforting zone. The world of fan fiction is a welcome retreat from the chaos all around.

      Thank you for addressing this.

      • I’m glad for this moment in time too. Racism and white privilege has continued to set the tone for every foundation in this country. As we shine light on it then we can truly fight to eradicate it and snuff it out. My Father is also a descendant of slavery – I actually went to elementary school with a kid who was a descendant of the white family that owned mine in the South. We think this history is so far removed but it’s not, and it’s traceable!

        FanFiction is a wonderful retreat that has provided tremendous solace in this time. Though I’ve been doing a bit more reading of it than writing it.

        Thank you for your solidarity!

    6. Elizabeth,
      Thank you for addressing this issue… It appears to me that this country is now in the perfect storm. This countries original sin – slavery and its descendants – Jim Crow, Segregation, Bull Conner and Discrimination is long overdue to be addressed and corrected. The death of George Floyd is just this week’s symbol of the vast injustice and inequality with exist with many individuals and most institutions which exist in America. There is an anger which has accumulated from the years of lack of actions which have resulted in the deaths of countless people of color.

      The purpose of most of the demonstrators throughout this country is to bring to the attention of the nation and its leaders that there is a problem of enormous magnitude and there are hundreds of thousands are suffering as a result of these inequities which exist in our institutions and our society. And much of the problems are on the backs of those who are of color. George Floyd, Tamura Rice, Eric Garner and many others who are currently residents of our prisons are examples of the inequity in law enforcement and justice. The Covid 19 death rates among people of color is indicative of the inequities in health care, nutrition, education and wealth. The economic crisis has affected people of color at far higher rates than the caucasian population and is indicative of government policies and regulations, and law enforcement as well as buisness practices whose sole goal is profits.

      What to do? Identify the problem – Organize – Go to Government Officials and request specific changes in the law and in institutions that all people have equal protection and access to the benefits of being a human being.. If they do not support the solutions, remove them and put someone in who will. Demand from government, business and institutions to act and give equal access to all benefits to all people regardless of color, financial condition, citizenship, gender, religion. Support your causes by volunteering to registering voters, or making a financial contribution to the candidate which supports the cause, petition the courts when you have grievances, demand accountability of government officials. And in the words of Winston Churchill – “Never, Never, Never Give UP”

      I am a white woman of almost 70 years old, born in Georgia, raised in Florida, educated in Tennessee and currently living in Georgia. I was raised in a segregated conservative region where discrimination was the norm. My family for the most part is very conservative. I am the odd one – an extreme liberal, gay and completely void of religion. My central beliefs are that we are all human beings that come to this life in the same way and we will all leave the same way. And from cradle to grave we must help each other and rely on each other to make that journey as pleasant as we can.

      I should have no more access to something simply because I am a white woman than anyone else. But I do. And I am ashamed of that fact. I am ashamed that being white carries with it privileges that people of color do no have. I am ashamed that schools in wealthier neighborhoods get more resources than school in poor neighborhoods. I am ashamed that people in poor neighborhoods have less access to health care and nutrition. I am ashamed that so many of my acquaintances presume people of color are criminals or vagrants or just plain up to no good. The color of your skin does not reflect what is in your heart. I pledge to do all that I can to make the world a better place to live for all humans by reducing the injustices of discrimination by individuals and by institutions.

      This country is at a perfect storm ….a virus is rampaging through the population at a high rate causing sickness and death for which there is no defense and unified plan of attack. This virus is causing severe economic stress and particularly to those who were economically stressed prior to the virus. We have a government which sees their main purpose is to remain in power for as long as they can regardless of the impact their policies and beliefs have on the people. We have leaders who believe that anything which benefits from government other than business should be quashed. Now the emotional realization one more time that there is a real risk if you are a person of color. Add to that the resistance of authorities and the onset of summer and the up coming election and we have the perfect storm. Never in my life have I ever seen this country in so many problems. I remember the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam Era, the race riots which happened surrounding the Rodney King beating. None of those events was this country so vulnerable to completely imploding as we are now.

      The vast majority of people want justice, peace, and equality. But there are some who want destruction, strife, and conflict. How to identify and handle the destructive ones is a problem. I recommend that demonstrate during the day – go home before the curfew and allow the police and company have the streets. Come back to tomorrow and demonstrate again. Wear a mask by all means.

      Thank you for this..

      Martha3128

      • I have nothing to add to this – beautiful words. You are a great ally and you are appreciated! It’s so true, the economic issues that this pandemic is worsening is definitely adding fuel to an already raging inferno.

    7. Elizabeth,

      First, I wish you a speedy recovery and hope that you are on the mend. Please know that many of us stand with you. Having been pretty emotional about all that was happening this last week, I can’t imagine what my black brothers and sisters are feeling at this low point of our nation’s history. I too, am a person of color (4th generation American of Mexican and Native American decent), but have never feared for my life in the presence of police officers; even the ones I was cross-examining in the courtroom. I will never know that fear. But I know that it exists for many and it is very real and warranted.

      My hope is that our country moves closer to progress and remedying the wrongs that are the result of fundamental flaws in the justice system. We have a lot of work to do to get there. I hope you are encouraging everyone you know to show up to the voting polls this November because that’s what people in power do not want us to do; because it can really challenge the status quo.

      Hugs to you and everyone else.

      Cheers,

      MeLL

      • Thank you MeLL! I am feeling much better.

        Yes, I have helped many register to vote, and in the past have shuttled people to and from their homes on election day. I’m thankful that I live in an area where voter suppression is not as flagrant as it is in some states.

        Voting is important, and educating ourselves to the nations true history is as well. I understand peoples fear when they hear “defund the police,” but it’s because the “police state” is the only reality they live in, and they haven’t done the research to truly understand what the alternative would look like. Dr. Angela Davis is always my go to when I’m looking for clarification and knowledge because you have her thoughts and insight from decades ago, but also the privilege of her insight now because she’s still living!

        Thank you for your words and perspective! :-)

    8. Hi, I’m a new reader of your story and I kinda binge read your story. I love Tina and Bette, as do I love Jennifer and laurel.

      I wanted to react to this, because I wanted to say that what’s been happening these last month and frankly years, the story off George floyd is finally the last drop. Because police brutality, racism and white privilege has been a problem for years in the world)

      I just wanted to let you know, I as a white person stand with you, I acknowledge the privilege I have as white person, I try to educate myself and others in these days (people still don’t got it) . I come from a pretty racist family, or as they say ‘all live matters’ (some actually do agree that they are racist). I’ve been in so many discussions and fights. But I still try to stand up, because why the hell not.

      Here in the Netherlands we also do have protests against racism, we need to protect those who don’t have protection.

      Anyway, I love your story.

      Love, deborah

      • I appreciate your support and sharing your perspective.

        Being biracial I can understand having racists in your own family. My Mother is white and her siblings were terrible when she married my Father. So, I’ve never met or talked to anyone on my Mom’s side of the family (except my Grandmother who was, ironically, okay with my parents marriage while she was alive). It is hard an heartbreaking to acknowledge the racism in your own family, and harder still to confront it. I would imagine even harder for you considering you’re talking about your nuclear family – the people you lived and grew up with. That’s difficult.

        There are people who still don’t get it, will never get, and who do get it but refuse to take action. I am thankful to continue to meet and engage with people everyday who move beyond those categories (no matter how far across the globe! :-)

        Also, thank you for reading my story! I hope to see a comment at some point there too! <3

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