What does safety in America look like to a black man?
One day we will rearrange this question into a statement, an inspirational ode to a sanctuary in America where black men do not have to wonder what it feels like to be respected, acknowledged and protected.
However, today regretfully is not the day, and the sanctuary is still a far cry.
It is still a question met by answers such as ”staying alert to stay alive” and the unfortunate acceptance that safety in America is a ”luxury” that black men simply do not have.
We could ponder the events that have led black men to believe that there is no solid place in this country to give an afterthought to their feelings or even their being. Whether it’s the sordid past on which black America is positioned, slavery, indentured servitude, or the Klan’s terrorization, let’s not start with the carefully orchestrated extermination of our community leaders.
June 14th marks the 44th anniversary of the assassination of Arthur Miller, a warrior. He was forging forward in his Brooklyn community, striving to be a pillar and example of the confident, strong, and impactful black man.
His immense spirit was an undeniable presence in his community, and his story of injustice echoed the tales of many men who looked like him and, like him, had suffered at the hands of police injustice. He was a reminder of those who had encountered the harrowing tales of America’s justice for black men before him. He was also a foreshadowing to those men who were met with the same suffering after him.
It begs to ponder the question further of the picture of safety for black men in America and prompts demand for the time to be now. Geroge Floyd, Eric Garner, Arthur Miller, and the multitude of black men who were simply existing one way or another deserved to know the safety of a black man in America and were unfortunately denied that right.
The even more progressive question is how do we demand the manifestation of safety for Black men? The key is embedded in a unified front. It digs deeply into the fabric of America and attaches to the roots of who we are as a people. It is centered around empowering our youth, protecting our elders, and supporting our young adults who are constantly developing into leaders within our communities.
Importantly, it also keeps the spirit and names alive of those who acted in their power before them. They fought to change the narrative and bring forth a reality that we as a people have been grasping for decades.
It’s a reality where we do not look to know how anyone else can see us differently but where we present ourselves in power and unity.