Your Hashtag Won’t Save Mike Brown

patience a

#Ferguson #JusticeForMikeBrown #NoJusticeNoPeace #IfTheyGunnedMeDown  

Our hashtags won’t save Mike Brown. Nor will they save the many African-American men who are affected by police abuse daily.  Only if one is living under a rock can one be ignorant to what’s going on in Ferguson, Missouri. I log on to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and I see  reposts about the tear gas being used on citizens. I see the valiant pictures of peaceful protesting. I watch the videos of the citizens crying about what is going on in their city. Its hard to miss. The assault of basic civil liberties and rights  are pretty blatant for all to see. For all those who are not located in the vicinity of Ferguson, Missouri we have been reduced to posting our comments albeit unifying solidarity comments on social media. Though it is encouraging to see all the posts about how justice must be won, I wonder the effectiveness of our social media cause.I wonder if the Ferguson Police Officers come home at night, log on to twitter and read some of the disparaging comments about themselves and think “Gee, I really should let up on all this brutal force.”? I wonder if they think to themselves when they see the Rapper Nelly in the streets protesting and say ” Wow,  that police officer must of done something wrong here, I wonder how we can ease this situation?”  It is an interesting situation to want to do something, but not know what we should do or how to do it. So we relegate our plan of action for justice to Twitter or Instagram.

I will say though, social media has opened up a discourse to the “justice system” in American. Many have began to realize that despite our good intentions, we do not live in a post racial society. Some may argue that we live in a post-racial society as evidenced by our African-American president and the many strides that African-American and other races have made over the decades.  I beg to differ. I know this because of the things that I’ve witnessed. I’ve heard stories of how my brother’s were pulled over by cops and questioned because they looked suspicious. Don’t get me started on Trayvon Martin. I heard of stories from my Black male friends of how they were  pulled over and physically abused at the hands of the police force for not doing anything wrong. I have seen time and time again, played out in the media, the darker skin brother made to look the villain, while the lighter skin brother made to look a saint. It is obvious, it is undeniable and it is deplorable.

mikebrowndad

This is no longer a race issue, this is not a gender issue, this is not a socioeconomic issue, this is not a geographic issue. This is an American issue.  This is a justice issue.  For those who do not think this issue effects them, I beg to differ. Imagine if it was your son, your neighbor, your city. What if this was Ontario, California, Des Moines, Iowa, Greenbelt, Maryland? Where do we draw the line of “Protect and Serve” rather than “Abuse and Bully”. I am not writing this to condemn the entire police force, I am intelligent  enough to know not to make sweeping generalizations about an entire group of people. I am writing this to call “a spade a spade”. I can no longer sit quiet and see the nation that was founded on the principles of justice and equality continue in a manner that is antithesis to the founding of this so-called great nation.  This matter is literally a matter of life of death. What we are witnessing in Ferguson, Missouri, is the crux of an issue we can no longer ignore. We can no longer ignore the abuse of justice, we can no longer ignore the abuse of power. We can no longer ignore the fact that the right to assemble freely, and freedom of speech is being attacked in what is self-deemed as  “the greatest nation on earth”.

It’s as if our nation has forgotten about the Constitutional Amendments. Remember it? We learned it in the 5th grade, along with the 3 branches of government. It’s as if our nation has forgotten about, or rather completely abolished, the 5th Amendment. The 5th and 14th  Amendment state that “no one shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” Now, I may not know everything, but I learned a couple of things from law school. And I do know that Mike Brown was not afforded due process. This entire situation is sickening and disheartening especially when people of other races actually commit crimes and get a slap on the wrist. This is not fallacy, this is playing out right before are very eyes. This is not the first time it has happened, and unfortunately this will not be the last time it will happen. Unless, we as an American society of human beings take a stand and put our foot down to what we believe is a crime to all humanity.

No, our hashtags will not save Mike Brown, nor will our anger. Our social media memes nor our imaged t-shirts will not suffice. So what do we do? In the words of one of my heroes Mahatma Gandhi, “We become the change, we want to see in this world”. We don’t like the police force? We get the training and we become the civilized police officer we wished protected our community. We don’t like the way the Governor is handling the situation? We major in political science, perhaps attend law school and run for gubernatorial office. We don’t like the way black men or men of color are treated in society? We have the difficult and tough conversations with our children about our rights and how to they will undoubtedly run into a double standard or racial profiling. We prepare our young black kids for the world as it is, not the world that we wished we lived in. Our protesting helps, our cries for justice help. But what will we do 2 months from now, when our voices have gone weary from shouting chants, when the tear gases  has run dry, when our fight has gone stale? Until then. #JusticeForMikeBrown

-Didi

Ndidi Amadi is a juris doctor and social justice activist. Stay connected with her on Twitter & Instagram

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