IVN Co-Publisher’s Pen

Ta Lese Shaterra / IVN Co-Publisher | 4/6/2017, midnight

Ta Lese Shatterra

Ta Lese Shatterra

Greetings Readers, Friends, and Followers:

Upland, CA—While the days and times in which we are living are different from the one in which, Martin Luther King Jr. lived, in many ways they are the same. In today’s world, we are plagued and bogged down with many of the same racial inequalities King and his contemporaries faced. We have an administration in place that has shown us time and again, that the African American community is not only unimportant, but our issues carry no weight. When did we become complacent to the extent that we allow such injustices to a father of five, Dante Parker, slain in a rather questionable homicide? Or the allow the lives of Mike Brown and Eric Garner to be cut tragically short with little or no consequence. Or Dontre’ Hamilton who happened to be mentally ill and shot 14 times by sworn officers, or Duncan Hicks, who happened to be in the Sheriff’s department to file charges only to be met with threats that would have brought charges against him? What do we tell ourselves about Philando Castile, who while stopped for a traffic violation, ended up being slain executive-style by St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez? What would Dr. King have done? An even better question yet, is “in which manner have we overcome, if at all?”

In this season, it’s imperative for us to adopt King’s visions and dreams and turn them into committed action in our daily lives. After all, doesn’t his legacy deserve that? He strived to bridge gaps between races, he fought for us to have equality, no matter race, color, and ethnicity and advocated for us all to come together as one. Why hasn’t that happened? Does anyone care? It’s one thing to band together marching, protesting, boycotting, and pushing the Black Lives Matter movement for a week or so, but what happens next? The community returns to what it was before, back to our live, work, church and school. We sit and wait for the so called “news reporters” to “report” the facts from their perspective and move us right along, which in reality pushes our agenda further and further down the totem pole. I ask again, “how have we overcome?”

If Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was alive today I can almost hear him in the clearest, most defined voice, urging us to stand firm behind our Urban Leagues, our NAACP organizations, our Faith-based leaders and support them as they plan and prepare to hold accountable our leaders and law makers to seek diligently the justice that is due to us. We have so much power and influence in our own backyards, yet we can’t seem to come together for equality and justice? How have we overcome?

Let’s take the Deonte Hamilton case. He was 31-year-old Milwaukee man who is medically diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Officer Christopher Manney fatally shot Hamilton after he said the two engaged in an altercation. It started, Manney said, as he patted down Hamilton, whom the officer believed was homeless, on drugs or alcohol, mentally ill, and a “significant threat to my safety.” He thought the “bulges” in Hamilton’s clothes could have been weapons, according to his memo to the police chief. What would Martin Luther King, Jr. have done? How have we overcome?