By Carolyn Riker
I’m appalled and shaken at the recent deaths of blatant racism of nine black folks at a prayer meeting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
My head is swirling with articles and interviews on this latest American racist tragedy. At first, I didn’t want to believe it was possible. I was in denial. Then profound grief.
Now I’m outraged.
It’s not the first time. It’s generations of bloodshed.
Speaking out is fairly new. I’d rather be quiet, watch and listen. I thought that was the right thing to do; the safe thing.
The white thing to do. It’s not working for me any longer.
“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” ~ Madeleine Albright
My heart is beyond the aching point. It’s smashed. I write this in honor of those nine souls, who had lives, and families and love. I write this in honor of those who died while praying.
We all die (aware or not) when these senseless, cowardly, horrific, menacing atrocities happen. We all bleed and the blood is old, black and tarnished.
It’s the blood of souls.
The prayers of bowed heads and hearts flow into those rivers of death and pain. And right now that feels like little solace because it sears, stirs and cauterizes a millennium of hatred and injustice and racism.
It’s a hate crime. It’s terrorism on our American soil.
“It’s not only important to call the murder of nine black beings in a historic black church an act of terrorism because it technically and [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][by definition] is exactly that. It is also important because too many Americans project terrorism onto Muslims mostly in foreign lands. Calling it terrorism confronts these projections and stereotypes when we have to look at a young, American, white, Christian man.” ~ David Bedrick, JD, Dipl. Process Work.
The one white person, Dylann Roof, who killed nine innocent folks, exposed his deep-seated racial hatred. It may seem like an isolated incident. It’s not. Dylann Roof represents countless of others. He exploded and his rampaged left nine more dead.
Last week I was devastated by a white police officer, in McKinney, Texas who pinned down a 15-year-old-black girl; I still hear her pleas of terror. She was calling out for her mother. Earlier the same police officer brandished his gun on two defenseless young black teens.
In April, we witnessed the death of Walter Scott. He was an unarmed black man shot from behind by a white police officer.
Why? Why, is this still happening?
Sometimes I feel and hear the universe wailing the most mournful song.
My focus is split. My outrage is real.
I feel for the families that lost a family member. Reading through the list of the most recent dead, my heart settled around, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton.
Ms. Coleman-Singleton was a 45-year-old mother of three, a reverend, and high school track coach killed while attending this recent carnage.
Her son, Chris Singleton, sent out a gut wrenching twitter, “Something extremely terrible has happened to my mom tonight, please pray for her and my family. Pray asap.”
My voice is small but it is alive. I am white and it is privilege to be able to write and share my voice.
and when the sky was black
as midnight ash
voices spoke each dead name
the rusted iron chains dragged
across the earth
weary and weeping
the seeds of hot tears
joined the sea of mourn
each name held
a face flashed
the hallowed groan of pain
a debilitating ache of heart
striped of life
aimed at skin of
ebony and brown
written in the scars
the blood shed is thick
dried to souls of blindness
the stars can’t shine tonight
the moon has hidden
rendering a solemn universal wail
sorrow ruptures the stillness
when will the crimes of hatred end?
when we see and feel
the outrage of our African American
brothers and sisters?
abused for centuries
when we finally listen and hear their voice of outrage?
the night spoke with solemn reverence:
keep the flame of soul lit
keep the voices sharing
listen and hear
scrape the tar pitted wounds
open our ears
until more can hear.
Editor: Dana Gornall