Yesterday, two men, in two different states, were executed by their government, as a recourse for crimes they were convicted of. One of the men, confessed to committing the hate-driven murder he was convicted of…and had absolutely no remorse. The other, stood by his statement of innocence until he took his last breath…but still apologized to the family of the man he was accused of killing. Regardless of the doubt surrounding his innocence or guilt, he is no longer living.
Yesterday, many of us posted our thoughts, well wishes, or pseudo-indifference on our social media accounts.
But today… less than 24 hours after two more men were killed, legally, at the hands of the states in which they resided…things are back to normal.
Or, are they?
Yes. Life goes on. People die everyday. But the fake compassion that so many of us have for others is more than troubling, and it’s being magnified by social media. We tweet our “disgust with injustice”, and update our Facebook statuses with empty “R.I.P.” messages to fit in with the crowd, so that we’re not deemed insensitive. But do we really care? Before you get all defensive and say yes…think about what action you’re taking.
Now this is in no way meant to condemn anyone. We all make choices, and you don’t have to care. Above all else, today, I just hope that I can encourage you to see how critical a time we’re living in, and how much power our voices possess in our communities.
At times, we as young people forget what a tremendous sacrifice was made for us to be afforded the luxuries that we take for granted on a daily basis. We’re all guilty of it, and in ways the battles that our grandparents fought for us in the 60’s have crippled us just as much as they’ve helped us. We don’t know how to fight for anything. We don’t care long enough about anything that doesn’t directly effect us, to see that the things that happen to our brothers and sisters could easily happen to us. We don’t acknowledge our role in society, and the strength that we could possess if we actually gave a damn about things that were REALLY important. Instead we talk trash about the officials who were put in positions of power during elections that we didn’t vote in. We blame “the man” for problems that we oftentimes create for ourselves. We allow ourselves to play the victim, when in all actuality, we are very capable of doing anything we want to do…that is, if we really wanted it.
As cliche as it may seem, it’s true: we are the future of the world, of our countries, of our states, of our cities, and of our communities. So, what are we going to do now?
Everyone is not going to go to law school and become a litigator. But when you’re called for jury duty…will you do your part to stop injustice, or will you weasel your way out of it because it’s an inconvenience to you? Not everyone will grow up to be the President of the United States. But every one of us has a say in who represents us in our legislature. Will you take the time to make an educated decision before you cast your ballot? Will you cast your ballot at all? Not everyone will become an educator. But everyone of us have a little brother, sister, cousin, or neighborhood friend who needs a positive influence in their life. So instead of talking about how “horrible” the younger generation is, will you take someone under your wing and show them the way? Not all of us will be famous. But all of us have influence within our networks. How are you using yours? What are you promoting?
In his now famous letter from the Birmingham jail, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that “…injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” There are hundreds of men and women just like Troy Davis, who are battling injustice, probably in your community. So if you’re really “about that life”…you know what you have to do. Have the courage to really take a stand. Even if you feel it’s minuscule, we’re all working parts of the greater good.
What can you commit to doing to help change your community, your school, your office, your city, your country and your world? How have the recent events in our country impacted you, and what do you plan to do to change it….or do you plan to change it all? Talk to me in the comment section.