THE SANTA CLARA
May 7, 2015
Each day, reports emerge of another young black man with all of his aspirations suddenly denied by a police officer’s bullet.
I’ve forgotten the rest. They all just blur into one portrait of a young man, maybe flawed, but a human being, with as much a heart, soul and red blood as any of the children at Sandy Hook Elementary School or the 2013 Boston Marathon runners and spectators.
What we have seen playing out on the streets of Ferguson, Mo., and more recently in Baltimore, is an angry movement rising with one loud and clear demand: enough.
Enough of the dead black men lying on the street for four hours. Enough of the grand juries and the special prosecutors that offer platitudes instead of indictments. Enough of the unspoken principle of American life that black lives don’t matter.
Most importantly, enough of the empty slogans about progress and equality that have made those of us who are not members of the inner-city poor think that we have made Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream come true.
We haven’t even come close.
Our grandparents marched with Martin and Medgar Evers and John Lewis, and then went home when the 60s ended. Our parents passed the buck. It’s on us now.
This is especially true for those of us who have lived our lives in the comfort of whiteness and wealth, connected to each horrifying report of police brutality only by an article in The New York Times.
Our Selma is here. Our Selma is now.
Sure, we can tell our grandchildren that we tweeted “#BlackLivesMatter” or that we defended the protests from an asinine comment made by one of our right wing friends on Facebook — but Freddie Gray will still be dead.
The alternative to fighting an armchair war with hashtags and slogans is to find the courage that the marchers at Selma had.
Make protesting police violence a commitment rather than a hobby. Scream, write, organize, agitate, but don’t stay silent. We will be judged by history, and it’s not too late to be judged well. It only takes a bit of courage.
Moshe Wander is a sophomore history major.