Eric Garner’s death at the hands of a policeman was alone distressing, sad, unsettling, and painful–even more haunting is to see the video of it happening. The Grand Jury decision not to indict the policeman inflamed an already raw and unhealed wound.
Twice in the space of six days, citizens in cities and communities united to decry unequal application of justice by legal systems.
This moment invites our reflection, meaningful action, and yes, even protest. Lives are being lost, families shattered by grief, and our confidence undermined in protection by those sworn to do so.
By now, it should be clear that the occurrences in Ferguson, New York, Florida and Cleveland were not isolated incidents separate from any of the other cities and towns in America.
Neither isolated incidents, nor separate from other oppressions.
Many are familiar with the concept of intersectionality. Simply put, police brutality is not separate from mass incarceration, poverty, failing schools, high unemployment, health disparities, violence against transgender women, anti-gay antagonism, implicit bias/racial prejudice and so forth. As Audre Lorde declared, There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.
My hope is that we would internalize the grand truth that indeed, Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, so saliently stated years ago by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Last week I met in conference with leaders of Black churches, all strengthening their resolve to do the work of social justice advocacy within their ministries and communities. Many have traveled to Ferguson, listened deeply, and learned from emerging leaders there. When asked, “Where have the prophets gone?” one speaker declared, “The prophets [of this day] are on the streets…” Organizing and activism is happening with or without traditional top down leadership.
Creating the beloved community
The outcry has not quieted. In fact, the pitch of voices is growing. The Many Voices movement challenges injustice visited upon lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families — and injustices visited upon all of us. We know the call of justice is indivisible.This weekend thousands will participate in actions, marches, and prayers and wear black attire to keep the issues in the public consciousness.
The work of Many Voices is rooted in social justice. Our movement challenges injustice visited upon lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families and injustices visited upon all of us. We know the call of justice is indivisible.