“I Am KHALIL COLEMAN”, may be the most powerful words in my time today…
At age 28, I feel I have been birth to live in the cause of doing what’s right, teaching young people, and helping others in the face of injustice. As a child, I remember thinking of the great dream of King, or the great integrity of Malcolm X, and recall at an early age of maybe like 10 years old asking myself in spirit would the same great love that took these men, would it be the same love which take me…
Let me fast forward to the most recent 3-4 years of my life when my fight for justice became real in Milwaukee history. Along with my experience growing up preparing me for my journey, I have watched the nation execute Troy Davis, I have been in national fights for justice on behalf of Mumia Abu Jamal and other political prisoners, I have watched the cries of this nation with Travyon Martin… at the same time in Milwaukee we lost Darius Simmons. I have experienced disrespect by law enforcement to the mother and family of Darius. The criminalization of character as her son died in the streets. I have fought tired battle after battle with the murder of Derek Williams. I seen tears shed that no money, no apologies could console. I have watched as families be disrespected in the face of law and order, as they are sent away with nothing but more grief. I walked 4 miles (and many more afterwards) with Mr. Craig Stingley a crying father who is using all God’s strength to keep going, after is son was killed and no justice has come to him yet. I am witnessing the murder cover up of Dontre Hamilton. A human being who’s life was taken worse than a wild animal, and still no answers.
I start to ask myself, how did these great men feel in times as I feel now. My mother is not religious, but is a strong spiritual person. She told me growing up as a child, “If they did it to Jesus who loved the world, what make you think they won’t do it to you.” I believe she always understood who I would be, but was always afraid of what that meant. Today, as she watch me singled out on newscast and become a target for a police chief to call my name publicly, and watch my great love for what’s right, like many she fears in a timing we live in.
In a time of today, 2014, where Ferguson has become a peak of the climax across the nation of race relations, we ask… why did we stop fighting for what’s right? Where are the young voices who we can say “I Am…” why must we be silent? How dangerous is it for us to wake up? How much world changing it would be if more rose up?
Martin Luther King Jr. writes in 1968 “A New Sense of Direction”:
* King quotes Victor Hugo. “If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin but he who causes the darkness.”
I think King refers to these as the great resistance. Where we can look around in see problems in our communities, such as; poverty, lack of employment, homicides, hunger, etc. We can look at this and see one is in sin, but where do these problems arise from? A system of injustice. So who is the guilt one?
* “The general causes of riots, we would have to say that the white power structure is still seeking to keep the walls of segregation and inequality substantially intact, while Negro determination to break through them has intensified. I find five basic causes of riots—the white backlash; pervasive discriminatory practices; unemployment; the war in Vietnam; and the urban problems of crime and extensive migration” -King
Relating back to Ferguson, or Milwaukee, or Chicago, or New York or any place where Black people reside in unjust treatments.. the next quote by King explains the pressure of a people who are continuously oppressed then suppressed. What took interest about Ferguson was the uprising of folks who was willing to stand up and throw back tear gas, or be shot by rubber bullets, or take an arrest on behalf of making a stand that “We Aren’t Going Anywhere.” One brother told me as I stood with many young warriors the first night curfew was imposed, which echoed many who took the last stand, “Where else do we have to go… I live here, I can’t run no more…”
Many times we express our great love to those taken unjustly by saying “I Am Oscar Grant”, “I Am Corey Stingley”, “I Am Eric Garner”, “I Am Mike Brown”… but it’s always after the facts of life. On Sept. 9th 2014, thirty influential Black men in the City of Milwaukee was called and about sixty showed up and said “I Am KHALIL COLEMAN”, after being targeted as a leader for justice (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=durQVlGcdDw). To me… that means much more then it just being about me. That’s the call of all those who are willing to make a stand for right in the face of wrong. To make a stand for justice in the face of injustice or Just Us. To say something when something MUST be said. Don’t let it only just be me. I made the stand and said it isn’t just the victims, I could be that victim, you could be that victim. But will you be one of the willing. There is no grander time, no greater time, and no perfect time to make that step.. but there is always a necessary time. In the end, I believe… anybody can be a leader. It’s just “ordinary people doing extraordinary thing” – Rosa Parks
I pray and move as if the Most High has the final say, but don’t wait until I Am no longer… it’s best when we stay alive! ” #Godtrust