Every time I turn on the news, a reporter is trying to tell the story of Racial Violence in Ferguson or New York. The story has been framed around Police Violence against Minorities. And although that might have been the incident to begin all the protests, looting, violence, and out of town incitement; the issue has moved way beyond Michael Brown.
We must stop seeing this as a right versus wrong decision. That’s not why people are lined up in the streets of New York, Chicago, and Denver. It’s not why students at local high schools are walking out of class to journey MILES through the streets to the government buildings in Colorado. The issue has morphed into something much deeper.
There’s a new wave of students who are taking up the cause. They’re well organized and they are learning how to make their voice heard in America.
Last night I was talking with Luke Parrott in Downtown Denver, and he was telling me the protests are largely non-violent, even though the media tries to ask the protestors about the thug looters distracting the movement. “One of my friends has been interviewed 37 times on CNN, and they always try to circle the conversation back to the violence. There’s no violence here.” He told me.
I’ve talked with other friends who try and sum up the problem with statements like “Well, the victims of this police violence shouldn’t be standing up to the police, or robbing stores.” And I totally agree. Police put their lives on the line every single day, not knowing who is going to come around the corner and threaten their lives.
But that’s not what this is becoming.
The protests are becoming an outlet where people have a venue to express their own past pain. They’re speaking with language surrounding their own personal stories. They’re protesting…
That time they got pulled over for no reason
That time they got stopped and frisked for no apparent cause
That time their family member was accused of something they didn’t do
It’s a cry for US all to look at the unintended bias of race, inequlaity, and the tenets the founders of this country put into place that “All men are created equal” and have individual rights to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
The crazy part of this protest…it’s the young people leading.
The old guys are largely standing on the sidelines, and the youth are leading with great excitement. And if you think that’s insignificant; think about Russia in 1917, Cambodia in 1976, Cuba in the 60’s, and the recent Obama 2008 presidential election.
Those were the stories that shaped decades of world history, and if the kids keep going like they’re talking about doing (they’re counting the days of protest against the Rosa Parks 300 days) this thing isn’t going away any time soon.
It’s time for the country to listen, learn what we can, and examine deeply the core issues that will drive our culture into the next decade. Because if we don’t…these are those times in history when escalating tensions lead to internal wars.
Take a while to digest what’s really going on.
Don’t let your cultural, political, or religious bias bring you to a rapid answer.
And maybe, go down to your local protest headquarters and watch, listen, and hear the pain of the people who are drawn to make their voices be heard.
Who knows, you might find a new friend.