Statement on State Violence Against Black Lives
It's been a painful few weeks. We've witnessed and recorded terrible, inescapable violence and brutality against people of color. The suffering of their families and loved ones. The pain and anger within our communities and of our peers. Our own sorrow and rage.
Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Alva Braziel, Deravis Rogers, and Delrawn Small have joined the magnificent choir of angels, innumerable spirits violently transitioned from this realm at the hand of state-sanctioned violence.Their lives mattered - but not to the State. It is critical that we understand this sentiment: their lives did not matter to the State. The police officers that killed these individuals were empowered by the State. The police have the State's backing.
The State discards people of color every day in order to protect a status quo of privilege and power. The U.S. gorges on annihilation-capable weapons while starving public school systems in the south. It polishes Wall Street while poisoning public water.
We must continue naming this violence for what it is: control; racism; contempt; and white supremacy. These aren't scary words. They are honest words.
The more there is to see (cameras) and experience (expansion of violence), the more committed people become to steering our democracy away from this militarized and corporatized path.
Systemic racism is killing all of us. Fear and power is steering the ship of State - and these forces have been at the helm far too long. Take notice: the social, financial, psychological, and spiritual investment in power and control is getting worse, not better, as we evolve. For every $100 a Georgian spends in taxes, the State spends $25 on the military. That's 25% of our hard-earned cash. On the other hand, Education - something that is very important to our society - only gets $3.55. Basic needs fare even lower-- only $1.92 goes to Housing.
White people, especially white cisgender men in positions of power, must recognize and value people of color; and we must demand a reflection of these values in our State. The State is composed of us.
We are all negatively affected by structural racism. For one, state-sanctioned violence, such as police brutality, war, and neglect, begets localized, individual violence, which further begets fear and rage, as the lives of slain Dallas police officers, Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, and Lorne Ahrens, can attest.
State-sanctioned racism and State violence are annihilating people of color, and even the Earth itself, from Nice to Orlando, Flint to Baghdad, Honduras to Medina. We must start where we are and change the heart and spirit of the state. We must support the efforts of our peers. And we must have courage.
Please support the Black Lives Matter movement and local protests - however you're able.Please vote if you have a run off on July 26, and vote in the General Election on November 8. Please speak out if you hear something racist at work at or with your family. Please consider how racism may inform your choices or your comfort. Please support people of color whose bodies, breath, water, and streets are flooded with State violence, wherever they may be. Please help Georgia WAND-and stand together with us to speak out against racism and racist violence. Ending racist violence will determine all of our destinies.