Black Lives Matter Now: Short Essays by Express Readers on Racial Injustice in America 

We invited East Bay residents to share their thoughts and words. Here's what they had to say.

Page 4 of 7

Basically, I employed respectability politics in raising my children. But when the rubber meets the road, none of that matters to the police and racist white Americans. My sons are fucking awesome, but that won't keep them from being shot and killed by the police who are empowered to kill Black and brown American citizens with impunity.

Yes, white people are killed by police. But white people aren't targeted by police, they're given the benefit of the doubt. Black people aren't afforded that luxury. We are always seen as threats, regardless of our profession, how we speak, what we wear and drive, where we live. I have never stolen anything, I'm followed around stores. White people grocery shop while eating stolen fruit.

Decades of this disparate treatment wears on the psyche. Living the American dream shouldn't come with a side of PTSD — or death.

Tonya Alston

Fairfield


Hashtags

It has saddened me that something so powerful such as a name has become nothing more than an ongoing hashtag. These hashtags are growing at alarming rates. Leaving bodies breathless, families broken, and reasoning barely there. The disgusting reality of police brutality.

Unfortunately, I do not hold all the answers. But, collectively, we can develop the next steps. If we can begin to economically re-develop our communities, we're off to a great start. We must love, support, and unite. Although our problems are much much deeper than police brutality, no more lives shall be taken by the corrupt law enforcement.

Ajhana Dee

Oakland


Silence is Lethal

"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest."

This was posted by white friend of mine two days before the death of Alton Sterling. It stood out because he doesn't post often. However, his very next social-media post featured a cute animal playing, a far cry from an acknowledgement of what was happening on the ground and in the news.

For those of you who have Black friends and family, they are deeply hurting at this time. They want peace just as much as you do, but you're putting them in a very difficult place right now. Many of you are not helping, but an even larger portion of you are not even listening.

Racism is learned, but so is silence. The cacophony is overwhelming, but your silence is lethal.

Ebonye Gussine Wilkins

Oakland


Please Join Me

I couldn't sleep after watching the videos. The murder and lack of concern for fellow human beings. Death at the hands of those sworn to protect. I know it's not new. I've hardly spoken up before. I'm white. What would I say? How could I say something and not appear ignorant or stupid or trite?

But this time, it's different. I'm not sure exactly how. But it is. I'm willing to take a risk. Willing to stand up and be uncomfortable. I'm willing to say that I support Black Lives Matter.

I made one short post on Facebook "#blacklivesmatter."

I am far from the social-justice warrior I wish myself to be. It feels like I can do so little as one person, but I will stand in my discomfort and I will say without exception that Black Lives Matter. I will say it, live it and teach it to my own sons until it is true. Without exception. Perhaps you can, too. Please join me.

Vicki Macchiavello

Oakland


The Time Is Now!

With the election of our first Black president, we can now truly see the real colors of some white Americans and how they truly feel about Blacks, expressed through the media and by the murders of Black men and Black women around the world. With that being said, we no longer can stand on the sidelines with peaceful protest or unsuccessful debates with Black scholars within our communities.

It's time to start our pilot revolution in order to secure our children's future. Gone are the days of marching and praying to a God to solve our problems. They didn't work back then, and they don't now. We must now all come together anyway we can, either by educating ourselves or working in our communities along with supporting each other. The time is now! Either we come together, or die together, "along" with our unborn generation.

Derrick Newton

Oakland


'Believe Me. I Care.'

I am a white woman, a grandmother, a teacher, who today wants to reach out to every Black person in this nation and say, "Believe me. I care."

I want to stop every Black person I see in Oakland when I go to visit my family who live there and say "I am sorry you have to live with this injustice and this vulnerability. I want you to understand that my sons and their wives and I care about you. And we are teaching their children to care. My sons' children will grow up learning that black lives matter!'"

Laura Bernell

Walnut Creek


Life Outside This Earth

"Do you believe there is life aside from this Earth?"

My roommate T.T. poses this question as we finish eating dinner. We are stationed on her bed, sipping wine and enjoying the last few hours of our day off. The television is reproducing sounds, acquired from a show, that serves to numb our thoughts. We have a lot on our mind these days. She a beautiful Black woman, me a gay Hispanic male. Two humans, who couldn't be more different, sharing a bottle wine, coming to terms with the destruction that has infested our respective communities.

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