Hear my cries. While we witness the events unfolding all around us. It is somewhat surreal to think that MLK’s words on the “Other America” spoken some 52 years ago ring loudly to this day in the voice of protestors, those who have lost loved ones and those who have been hurt. So that you can appreciate what I am speaking about, here are Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s words:
“It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society.
A riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear?
- It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last 12 or 15 years.
- It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met, and
- It has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.”
In my own words, I say enough, as noted in a piece written following the murder of George Floyd. I’m exhausted upholding my end of the contract with society, only to be faced with those who continuously violate it as they hurt, harm, and kill people that look like me.
My message is not one of violence, destruction, or hatred. It is merely a wake-up call to those who have chosen not to hear, pay attention, or listen to the pleads of “I can’t breathe.”
Metaphorically it feels like a constant knee on the throat with the subtle, not-so-subtle, and blatant violations in the name of unwarranted power, privilege, and control. Hear my words – enough!
And while some semblance of order will need to happen, let’s pray that while imposing curfews, calling out the national guard, dressing in riot gear, launching pepper pellets or tear gas, that America is also finally able to hear the cries of pain and anguish in the voices of society’s unheard.
Lynn F Austin, MBA, is an author and speaker. Her messages reflect her courage and commitment against fear, doubt, and disbelief. Dedicated to serving causes impacting domestic violence and at-risk youth, she strives to inspire others to live their purpose.
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