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Sunday, April 21, 2024

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iMOM: Responding to the need for change

by Brittany Holst —

Six months into 2020 and many people are already feeling like this is the worst year of this millennium.

TSD iMom columnist Brittany Holst (Photo: Shirley Jackson)

As a nation, we have dealt with the effects of COVID-19, including death and loss of jobs. Adding to the stress, the nation is experiencing riots and protests across the nation over the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Pamela Turner, Atatiana Jefferson, George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin and so many others.

It’s one thing to read about protests and riots in history books, but it is a completely different emotion to witness it firsthand.

While many protests have been peaceful, some across the country have been violent, with businesses being vandalized and protesters being met with rubber bullets, pepper spray and tasers.

Imagine what your reaction will be years from now when your child tells you they are studying this in history class and ask you about what it was like during the time.

Black people are tired. Tired of being targeted because of the color our skin tone. Tired of the injustices that continue to plague this nation.

Cops killing innocent black men and women. Citizens taking it upon themselves to target the innocent and make citizens’ arrests that ends in violence.

Other races judging and following us around while trying to shop. When does it stop? The treatment of our race since we first were brought to America has been despicable.

As African-American parents, we worry about our children – going to school, driving in their car, walking down the street, riding a bike.

We find ourselves having to have “The Talk” with our children on how to behave when stopped or approached by the police, who are meant to protect and serve the communities where we live.

Now the worry is more amplified, not just for everyday things that could happen in life but for the targets that are on their backs.

With current events of police killings, the target is larger than ever. We not only worry about our children, but for ourselves, our parents, cousins, siblings, uncles, aunts, grandparents and friends.

If you are black, you worry.

Dantre Harris {Courtesy photo}

Dantré Harris, educator and founder of BigFaithTalk, has been on the front lines during the recent protests in Memphis. While he is not a parent, he is a black man in America with the same fears as everyone else.

I had the opportunity to discuss with him the purpose behind BigFaithTalk and what being on the front lines meant to him.

“There are all types of ways to protest, but being on the front lines, joining people of all nationalities, races, and ethnicities is powerful beyond measure,” said Harris. “Being on the front lines allows me to be a vessel for our communities.”

Fighting for change means putting yourself in a position to challenge the norm and make a difference. Sometimes, people do not understand until things are staring them in the face.

“It allows me to effect the lives of others through not only words, but action,” Harris continued. “It allows me to be able to look into the eyes of officers and leave an everlasting memory of humanity every day that they put their uniform on.”

Everyone shedding light on the racial injustices in America has a goal. We want it to end. We want consequences, not excuses, when innocent black men and women are killed by those meant to protect and serve, along with citizens who take it upon themselves to beat and kill.

Abuse of power has to stop.

Harris’ goal is to “spread the words of grace and patience.

“It’s not up to me as a mere man to inspire fear. In order to drive out fear of the hearts of all mankind is to bring light.”

There are so many people flooding the streets in protest of racial injustices with hope that true changes are made and racial injustice finally comes to an end.

There is so much pain in America and something needs to be done.

“Everyone vents their pains and their concerns in many ways and I’m in agreement with all forms of protesting,” said Harris. “I feel that it’s imperative to get out in the streets because there’s no fairness in war and we, as citizens, are in a state of war against systematic oppression. It’s my obligation to do my part in destroying the old ways of policing and racism yet inspire reform.”

BigFaithTalk is a non-religious, faith-inspired platform that you can support and be a part of the organization. God, service and reality is the focus.

The recent protests have resulted in the state of Minnesota to criminally charge all four officers involved in George Floyd’s death.

That is just a start. Now we need them to be convicted in the courts and for legislative laws to change.

We also need officers and citizens involved in other killings of innocent black men and women to be charged.

As a nation, we see how standing together for a common goal can make a difference. Pray for strength and understanding within ourselves and others.

Spread love not hate, right not wrong. Change will come. This is the Civil Rights Movement 2.0 and our voices will be heard. Black Lives Matter!


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