Black History Month is a time for reflection and celebration. But we usher in this February with a media frenzy, public outrage, and debate over the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols by black Memphis policemen. I have been intentional about not watching the video and filtering my exposure to the many social media posts that are part of the all too familiar cycle of our response to police brutality. Our hearts are indeed heavy, our souls are tired, and we feel no closer to prevention than the last time police misconduct was this published. I offer my sincerest condolences to Tyre’s family and pray that his death was not in vain.
Moments like this make me wonder about the most revolutionary thing I can do. When you feel like an entire system has been created and maintained to consistently devalue the lives of people who look like you, what do you do?
My suggestion is to TAKE THIS PERSONAL. Focus on what YOU can do going forward. Don’t feel compelled to solve for the race relations of the entire country and world because black people are not a monolith and there isn’t a one size fits all solution here.
If you feel the solution is education, get out there and share your knowledge.
If you feel the issue is poor training, create a curriculum or presentation to share with your local law enforcement agency.
If you feel friends and colleagues just don’t get it, hold an open and honest fireside chat or share books and resources with follow up discussion.
If you feel laws need to change, get active in your community, educate yourself on specific policies, and activate your civic responsibility to hold elected officials accountable.
If you feel our current approach to law enforcement and public safety is inherently flawed and needs to be revamped, do a ride-along, offer solutions and make your voice heard.
Although history delights us with the leadership of tide changing movements, it’s a fact that any progress we’ve made as a people has been through multi-faceted efforts on several fronts happening simultaneously.
So this Black History Month, I’m participating in several events centered around celebrating black contributions to art, business and culture. I am also completing training that will allow me to engage with my local school district in a more impactful way. Lastly, I am publicly supporting the black owned businesses that I normally patronize. No act is too small to be revolutionary and no act of hate should overshadow the need to celebrate our history and culture. Be sure to make it memorable and meaningful!