Hands Up Don’t Shoot – Justice for Mike Brown
Ferguson – Missouri – USA – November 2014
Photo Credit: Scott Olson / Getty Images
For millennia, humankind has been plagued with some form of inequality among its populations. As our societies grew, increased in complexity, and became globalized, so did the nature and degree of inequality.
Like a living human organism, inequality has a gender, race, ethnicity, and class that determine income and wealth disparities. To make matters worse, inequality dictates our access to a home, education, healthcare, and protection under our justice system.
Faced with racial inequality, the majority African-American community of Ferguson, Missouri, has received no justice for Mike Brown, an eighteen-year-old black male killed by a white policeman in August 2014.
What is happening in Ferguson, Missouri, affects us all, regardless of our skin color. Vulnerable whites also feel the brunt of white oppression. In a growing number of cities across America, there is also no justice for homeless people – whites and non-whites alike. Homelessness and feeding the homeless are now criminal activities. Under our unrestrained globalized capitalist economic system, more and more whites will join the ranks of black and brown-skin people deemed criminals, for some reason or the other, and disposable humans with little or no rights.
For the 99 Percent facing income and wealth inequality in an economic system that favors only a small group of humans at the top of the heap, racial inequality serves only to divide us. Add a militarized police force with impunity to kill and we become pawns in the hands of the One Percent.
If we are to succeed in ending the destructive practices of our capitalist economic system that are destabilizing our climate and threatening our planet’s ecosystems essential to human life, we must be able to stand and work together, whites and non-whites. Given the show of white oppression in Ferguson, Missouri, our collective task will be the greatest challenge of our millennium.
Can we end white oppression? Can we achieve racial equality? Can we work together to save our species?
Like the deluded would-be-knight, Don Quixote, in the Broadway musical Man of La Mancha, I share the aspirations expressed in “The Impossible Dream.” After learning this song as an adolescent in our high school Glee Club, I clung to the hope of overcoming insurmountable odds in a racially divided (East Indian vs. African) and unjust society, controlled by Big Business (the One Percent) interests and our local corrupt leaders.
Together with Quixote, I continue to dream the impossible dream…
To face the unbeatable foe…to right the unrightable wrong…to reach the unreachable star…no matter how hopeless, no matter how far…
It’s in our collective struggle that we find our strength; that we grow closer to the Other; that we bring about meaningful change, however slow the process.
And the world will be better for this.
To see the complete lyrics of the song, “The Impossible Dream,” and to learn more about the musical, Man of La Mancha, visit my Poetry Corner December 2014.