For Those Who Are Confused, Here’s ‘What’s Going On’ With The Change Happening Around You
There’s too many of us dying.
Co-written by Stacy Y. Thomas, Host of Cultivating Conversations Podcast
Birthed out of an incident of police brutality, Marvin Gaye’s album, What’s Going On, asks a question Blacks have been trying to get answered for the last 400 hundred years.
In November 2020, Americans (hopefully) will head to the polls, in some fashion, to cast their ballots for elected officials, including the President of the United States. This election will take place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately impacts Black and brown communities. This election will also take place against the backdrop of the raw and recent memory of the senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, murders committed by those sworn to protect and serve. Murders that also disproportionately impact Black and brown communities.
As much as Patriarchal America might like to get the economy restarted and get the country opened back up for business, it is not possible to ignore what is happening. Americans cannot jet set to the tropics or engage in their nightly rituals of dinner and drinks. COVID-19 has caused our collective lives to essentially grind to a halt, laying bare the fault lines of inequity, inequality, injustice and intolerance.
Across the U.S. and even the world, protesters are righteously risking their lives in a pandemic to fight for justice, for the Black race. A world that once scorned Black skin is now standing up for and risking its own life to lobby on behalf of her Black sisters and brothers. That is powerful and cannot be ignored! Do we have your attention? We’d like to let you know what’s going on.
If you want the answer to the question, “What’s going on?,” just ask a woman. No one can carry a message quite like a woman. From Mary and Martha in the new testament carrying the message of Jesus not being in the tomb after his crucifixion, to Nina Simon penning the infamous song “Strange Fruit,” which told the chilling story of lynchings in the south, you can count on a woman to be a messenger of information.
We’ve been on the front lines forever. We’ve been messengers of information and agents of change. There are countless stories of how Black women mobilized during the Civil Rights Movement, the Suffrage Movement and other pivotal moments in history. Even dialing back to slavery, Black women have carried messages in their hair. Intricately parted and strategically braided hairstyles carried messages and plans of escape to freedom.
And faithfully, here we are today, still carrying messages and strategies for our freedom. Fighting for the right to have our voices heard, and sending messages that our Black sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, cousins, skin, businesses, education, money, livelihood — it all matters! Just like a good gossip session, women are coming together to exchange juicy information. This juice is bitter though, as it has been squeezed from the tears, the anguish and the pain of racial injustice towards an entire race of people.
What’s going on? Women of all shades, colors and creeds are taking to the streets and protesting for racial equality. We are taking to social media and creating pages, community groups and chat rooms to gather information on not only Black History, but American History. Black women are being the carriers of information and white women are becoming the allies, disseminating this information to challenge and educate their peers, colleagues, family members and others who are uninformed.
What’s going on? Men, women, boys and girls of all races and ages are starting to have the tough conversations about race, bias, prejudice, systemic oppression and white privilege. Corporations are rallying together to finally say “Black Lives Matter.” Black, with a capital B.
What’s going on is, Black and brown people are exercising their power and have demanded the world stop and listen. Stop and listen to our blood crying from the grave. Stop and look at the 400 cities, 50 states, the over 25 countries and every continent except Antarctica protesting for George Floyd and against racism. Stop and review the countless Black men, women, boys and girls who’ve been murdered because of the color of their skin. Then watch the uprising of a revolution that is being televised all around the world. Do you see what’s going on now?