Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Where Do I Begin?

So no justice for Bell?  For the past few days, I contemplated how I would respond to this denial of justice.  Rev. Al Sharpton called the decision an "abortion" of justice.  Though I am reluctant to use such gendered, emotionally and socially-charged language as "miscarriage" and "abortion", his outrage resonates with me as well as that of Bell's family and supporters.  The images of his fiancee after the verdict was delivered are etched indelibly on my mind.  

I do not have a critical, well-thought out response to what occurred.  I just feel empty.  When I discussed my frustration and utter disappointment with several of my closest friends and esteemed colleagues, it became clear that I was not alone in my disgust and in my desire to formulate a plan of action that speaks to many of the pressing issues confronting black and brown and poor communities in the United States.  This is certainly not the first time the justice system has disregarded and devalued the lives of black and brown bodies (and I am speaking about the past decade, we already know about the centuries of racial, sexual, psychological, and structural violence people of color and poor people endured).  My friends and colleagues feel motivated to move, but do not know how or where.  

I believe in words and informed action, but am at a loss for words and not quite sure what informed action looks like in this particular case, and more broadly, in this distinct historical moment.   If not a riot, then what?  If not a protest, then what? If not several well-written articles about racial injustice in the justice system, then what? If not thought-provoking sound bytes from recognized leaders from black and brown communities, then what? If not a revised "covenant" or "plan of action" detailing the most important issues confronting black and brown communities and potential solutions, then what?  What is a substantive step forward in advocating and working for change?

I do not claim to have answers to these questions, but I know they must be grappled with and engaged.  For now, I will keep Bell in the front of my mind as I press forward and try and find direction.

in the struggle,
a diva feminist

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