Proximity gives us insight into each other’s lives. You learn that there’s more to black families than your worse fears or even your best thoughts. Black and brown men love and are loved. They serve and protect not only their loved ones but their community. When you get to know your neighbor, you will find that you’ve been fed and have allowed yourself to consume from the buffet of distrust, hate-filled biases, superiority ideology, and faux promises of power.
Arise and awaken to advocate for your neighbors. Advocate for our sons and their father’s safety. Advocate for brown boys and black men who play with their children and love their families. Advocate for brown boys who love their dogs, toys, games, and friends so they can live without fear in your community.
Advocate so that brown boys and black men can drive their cars with their air fresheners hanging and not have to die for it. Brown boys and black men know to call home if they’re ever pulled over by a cop because they may not make it home or will need support and encouragement to make it through the stop.
In #dauntewright’s case, he didn’t survive the stop for having air fresheners hanging. Advocate so your words about patriotism can match your actions. When you do, men like Lt. Caron Nazario, an army officer, when stopped, will be confident that he won’t be pepper sprayed, disrespected, cuffed, and threatened all while in uniform. But he wasn’t spared the trauma because most choose to remain silent. Why? Because proximity matters. Advocate and reign in officers who use the profession to conduct modern-day lynchings.
Hold politicians who court your vote accountable. The ones who express outrage when a flag is trampled on but have nothing to say when it’s modified to create a version of law enforcement. No brown group could do that without feeling the brunt of their disdain. Hold politicians, especially pro-blue politicians, accountable.
Advocate for your brown and black neighbors not because you know them personally but because we are a reflection of each other. Advocate so black mothers like me can enjoy the freedom of knowing that their children can die of old age and not at the hands of law enforcement officers.
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