“Difficult as it is to make bricks without straw; we may be doomed to discover that it is not impossible. We may indeed be on the edge of the recognition that making bricks without straw is, precisely, our historical and actual speciality.”
James Baldwin, The Evidence of Things Not Seen
My heart is overwhelmed, by work I pray will not be in vain, work yet to be done in days ahead, and by headlines in sweet home Saint Louis over the past few days:
– Sunday, May 22nd, Brandi Hill is murdered early in the morning by two men who steal her car and abduct her baby girl (9 mo) – apparently they did not see the child – she was left by the suspects a few miles down the road. We must continue to #SayHerName
– Monday, May 23rd, Marquita Jones and Melvin Thomas, at first reportedly killed in a house fire Sunday the 22nd. News broke Monday morning that the couple was shot to death, then the fire – set as an apparent cover-up – took the life of their baby girl Madison (11 mo).
– Tuesday, May 24th, a father killed his 8 month old baby. He intended to shoot the mother. She is physically unharmed. He then abducted his two other children, 2 and 3 years old. At the time of this post, an amber alert was ringing on our cell phones; local agencies eventually found the children and are still searching for their father.
We are overwhelmed. We are angry, disturbed, depressed. We are mourning.
This feeling of being drained, out of it, out of order… out of ideas… out of energy… is not new. These are not the first deaths we have seen. But our families are no less stricken. We are frustrated by the racist mockery that wells up when black people – especially black men – commit hideous crimes, but our fatigue is not a reaction to these attacks. No. The “blame it on Black Lives Matter” campaign will never be causative in our labors for liberation.
We mourn senseless death because life is precious. Not because we want to respond to the fear-breeding statistics of “black on black crime”. Save your comments as drafts. People are in pain.
Our Blackness bears the complexity of both imposed and internalized strife. Those who claim that we fight one battle more than the other have never stood with us in either struggle. While folks analyze our location in politics and pop culture, we are losing our lives.
Though wounded by a wide range of weapons, every black life lost still brings intense trauma. Life lost to war, life lost to unjust systems, life lost to murder, to police crimes, life lost to self-destruction and obsession with power. Life lost to an inability to honor one another as family. No tragedy outweighs the other.
Today we weep as Abel’s brother-spilled blood cries out from the ground.
May The Lord who hears rise up and restore.