And the beat goes on.
Two more brothers gone too soon.
At the hands of law enforcement officials who swore to make the world a better place.
A safer place.
But not for us.
They didn’t care about us.
No one does.
No one ever stands with us.
When there were terror attacks in France…
We stood together and prayed for the French.
Mass murder in a Gay club in Orlando…
We stood together, wrapped our arms around the LGBT community, donated blood and prayed for Orlando.
Terror attacks in Boston…
We marathoned forward together arm in arm - #bostonstrong
Right now, we, your black brothers and sisters are justifiably frustrated, angry, scared, hurt, annoyed and outraged.
But who stands with us?
Where are the #bostonstrong?
Where are the people who prayed with us for the LGBT community?
The people who sent prayers and well wishes to the French?
There is an uncomfortable silence.
You can dance to our music.
Sing our songs.
Mimic our style.
Embrace the sheer magic of our culture.
But when it’s uncomfortable to have a conversation about what it really means to be Black in America.
Not one single Justin Timberlake Tweet.
And speaking of being Black in America – what does it mean?
It means that we get to fear for the lives of our brothers, our sisters, our sons, our daughters, our friends...
It means we get to warn our children against wearing certain types of clothing.
It means the world can witness us get killed ON CAMERA without consequence.
It means codeswitching.
But to every single one of us who feels scared. Or hurt. Or angry. Or outraged. Or confused.
You may feel alone, but you’re not.
We’re in this together.
We don’t all mourn the same.
Or love the same.
Or express ourselves the same.
But we’re with you.
You might feel like there is no hope in this situation.
You might feel robbed of the ability to feel (or not to feel) but that is okay.
You are needed.
You are necessary.
Let’s rely on each other – because no one else understands this lonely feeling of walking around with a target on their backs from the time we’re old enough to walk.
You have beautiful gifts to offer your community.
Offer your gifts.
Don’t ever forget your magic.
I’m talking to you.
The mothers, the fathers.
The boys with your pants hanging down – pull ‘em up young brother.
But you matter - regardless.
Whether you live in a luxurious mansion in the suburbs.
Or in an extended stay hotel.
Whether the letters behind your name are Ph. D.
Even when you doubt it brothers and sisters.
You are loved by me.
You are loved by your family.
You are loved by us.
No matter how much the media cries ‘but black on black crime.’
No matter how many mug shots are displayed on TV to taint your image.
No matter how many irrelevant rap sheets are shared after it’s too late.
It doesn’t seem like we’ll get through this, but trust me… we will.
We always have.
Right now, brothers and sisters – there is someone who is waiting to see your face.
And it will light up their world.
Go, be that light.
Now for the silent majority who mimics our dance moves.
And our music.
And our hairstyles.
We know you’re uncomfortable.
You may not feel like this is something you have the right to speak on.
But you do.
Say something – publicly.
With the same outrage you had about Boston, Orlando, France.
Or even Cecil the dead lion – you know the one from last year.
Or Harambe the dead gorilla – you know – the one from last month.
A small act of telling someone how much you care will let them know that you stand with them.
Like they did with you, when times were hard.
I don’t know all the answers on God’s green… (mostly blue) earth.
But I do know this.
If you call yourself my friend.
Or our friend.
And you stand in silence.
You don’t stand with me.
Or with us.
Because your silence?
We can hear it.
And it is so...
Anthony ‘AJ’ Joiner
P.S. Oh, and before I forget, share THIS message with your friends.
Who are LOUDLY.