Ferguson

5 Times MLK Clarified My Role In The Fight of Injustice

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"What is my role?"

... I asked myself this question as I witnessed droves of people on social media express their frustration with another non-indictment of a police officer who killed an unarmed Black man.

Feeling helpless and frustrated as to whether I should march or picket, I decided to do something else constructive: read.

Reading has always been therapeutic for me, especially when trying to find others in history who attempted to articulate the angst of their times in profound ways. I then decided to read up on Martin Luther King Jr. and his views on injustice. After reading his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, I learned it was eerily addressing all of what was going on in 2017.

As I read through the letter, my mouth fell open. I finally got clarification on how I should respond to everything.

Hence, these are the five takeaways I had from reading Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail. Each of which explain why fighting injustice and inequality today matters as much as it did in 1963.

1. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny: “...Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”

2. A Justice delayed is in fact a justice denied: "We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied.

3. Direct action opens the doors of negotiation and reform: "Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue."".. Direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. …The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation."

4. Extremism for Love or for Hate: "..Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . ." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?"

5. The Church will serve as our thermostat: “There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are. “If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.”

 

Happy MLK DAY!

#TrustTheProcess | 2015: a Year in Review

...If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen me post the now infamous hashtag, #TrustTheProcess. This process began in 2014 when a still small voice told me not to pursue my doctoral studies on the East Coast and, instead, to come back home to Los Angeles to be with my Grandmother. After coming home, I saw just how much the process needed to be trusted as I found myself unable to find gainful full-time work, living on my Grandmother's couch,  and working part-time, making $9.25/hour at my local YMCA, even with a master's degree. Although 2015 had its ebbs and flows, I have plenty good news to share and want to chronicle the months to show you just how much has transpired over the last year.

Here's my recap of how I trusted the process in 2015:

March

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In March of 2015, I started my first podcast entitled the #TheCut  with the support of my lovely girlfriend, Makiah. I also wrote what would become one of my most popular blog posts: On Mo’ne, SAE, & The Burden of Black Forgiveness, which was shared by my professional role model, Marc Lamont Hill! #TrustTheProcess

April

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In April, I was invited by Huffington Post Black Voices  to become a blogger and contributor for their site! Being excited from the responses to my writing, I decided educate Raven Symone on the importance of knowing what continent you come from in 5 things Raven-Symonè Still Doesn’t Know About Africa | List. #TrustTheProcess

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May

In May, I wrote my most poignant essay entitled, The Theology of Black Unrest. Though it wasn't as widely circulated as I originally anticipated, it allowed me to grapple with how my faith informs the rising social unrest in cities like Baltimore and Ferguson and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. #TrustTheProcess

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June

In June, I still found myself working diligently at the YMCA part-time. While there, I was configuring ways to use my writing as an outlet to chime in on cultural matters while still looking for full-time work.

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Shortly afterward,  I was inspired to write about Rachel Dolezal on Huffington Post in a essay called: Post Rachel: 5 Things Rachel Dolezal Taught us About Race. In the same month, I also was featured on MadameNoir's #AskABlackManLA video shoot (dropping in 2016). During the same month, I also got to meet a major inspiration of mine, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill at Th BET's Experience Genius Talks. It was quite clear that the process was being trusted and I was right where I needed to be. #TrustTheProcess

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July

In July, I wrote my next piece,The Color of Hatred, an essay surrounding the failure of the media to portray the humanity of the nine African-Americans killed in the Charleston attack.

Shortly after writing this piece, I was unexpectedly invited to become an Adjunct Professor at Pacific Oaks College to teach Race + Culture courses.

In the same month, while working on a fellowship application, my Macbook was stolen at my local Starbucks.:( Primed by friends to start a GoFundMe to raise donations for a new one, I created #TheBounceBack Campaign, and by the grace of numerous friends and loved ones, I raised enough money to buy a BRAND NEW laptop! #TrustTheProcess

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August

On a high from July, I was even more excited about August 2015! As I made preparations to begin teaching at Pacific Oaks, I received an opportunity to host a screening of Ava Duvernay's Selma at the California African American Museum.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Km5bcGNrwLA

Shortly after that,  I was invited to attend Amnesty International's Human Rights Leadership Conference in St. Louis. While there, I went to Ferguson to support the activism surrounding Michael Brown, who had been murdered a year prior. #TrustTheProcess

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Upon my arrival in California, I was invited to teach at Cal State Dominguez Hills Africana Studies Department, and by the grace of God, was finally able to resign from the YMCA! #TrustTheProcess

September

September of 2015 was even crazier in relationship to the process! As the beginning of the quarter started at both CSUDH & Pacific Oaks, I wrote Dashikis and Face Paint: Decolonizing The African Cultural Line. This essay was so popular, it became the top post in the country on Huffington Post Black Voices. And graciously, because of that essay, I was then invited for an  interview on Philadelphia's 900AM WURD. #TrustTheProcess

https://soundcloud.com/900amwurd/wurd-up-91915-tyree-boyd-pates

WURDFM Radio Interview - September

October

In October, I hit more of a stride regarding my process. Inspired by Ta-Nehisi Coates' Book Between The World and Me and the classes I was teaching,I decided to create a book club for Black millennials called #BarnesAndNobleAndChill.

 

Then, I was randomly was named a Herb Carter & Yvonne Braithwaite-Burke Distinguished Lecturer of CSUDH, where I gave the first public lecture of my career, On Dashikis and Face Paint: Decolonizing the African Cultural Line, based on my article.#TrustTheProcess

November

November was even more turnt! Inspired from reading and teaching about Harold Cruse and pluralism in my classes, I decided to challenge myself to model economic solidarity in my community. So, after a discussion with my  wonderful girlfriend,  Makiah, we decided to create a list to support Black businesses in Los Angeles: 15 Black Businesses for Black Friday in L.A.

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Because of that list, I was invited for an interview in the The Wave newspaper regarding the power of Black businesses. #TrustTheProcess

December

As the year came to a close, I  decided that addition work was needed to further advance Black culture in LA. After approaching the Executive Director of CAAM, I created the museum's first Millennial Advisory Council. 

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While visiting the memorial for Nicholas Robertson,  a young man who was senselessly murdered by the LA County Sheriff's in Lynwood, I was interviewed by the New York Times regarding #BlackLivesMatter and the unjust treatment of Black people by the Los Angeles Police Department. And last but not least, I was interviewed by 2Urban Girls  regarding my thoughts on the plight of minority students in higher education. #TrustTheProcess

In Conclusion....

2015 has been quite the year. Not only did I find growth in trusting the process, I found strength. This year was not easy, but it was worth it and I've learned significant lessons along the way. For all those who find themselves in the middle of a difficult process, I encourage you to keep trusting and never give up!

If this was 2015, I can't imagine what the process has for me in 2016!

#TrustTheProcess

The #FergusonReflections

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9lfsuW91xs

These are the #FergusonReflections.

Recently, I conducted a brief interview with a young African American male about the perception he receives daily. Especially, in light of the recent slaying of Michael Brown and the non-indictment of Darren Wilson. Powerful to say the least.

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Jesse Williams' Scathing Inquisition of Ferguson and the American Double Standard

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Jesse Williams

.. If you weren't a Grey's fan before you'll probably be one now!

On Tuesday, actor Jesse Williams gave a scathing critique on the mishandling of Ferguson and the bias surrounding it. Particularly, the relentless injustice and double standard placed on black and brown people.  And it must say, it was brilliant!

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Do you agree with what Jesse Williams? Tell me your thoughts below. 

Ferguson Through the Eyes of Young People

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Nearly two weeks have passed since the death Mike Brown,  an unarmed teenager that was gunned down by a Ferguson police officer. There has been much speculation regarding what instigated the confrontation between Mike Brown and the officer, who has now been identified as Darren Wilson but what is clear, is that this is not an isolated incident, neither in Ferguson or around the country. Over the last few months, there have been many incidents of police using excessive force, which in many cases result in the death of an unarmed individual. Since the death of Mike Brown, there has been a number of protests across the country and has now attracted the attention of the international community.

As a result, GenYnot  wanted to get the perspectives of young people who have watched the events unfold over the last few days. Below are clips talking about the policing of black men, the militarization of America’s police force, hashtag activism and what are next steps young people can take to support the efforts in Ferguson. Be sure to add your insight below.

Special Guests

Who Are Police Protecting and Serving?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQXrtsWSxmQ]

Do We Need to Talk About Black on Black Crime?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGB1Up3Ah2Q]

Is Hashtag Activism Sustainable?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1LQi--Yf80]

Source: @GenYnot

#PrayForThePrivileged

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Believe it or not, a significant amount of people believe that Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, was justified in his actions last week. They also feel that that the  deployment of Humvees, snipers, and tear gas  was warranted in quelling peaceful protestors. These sentiments  stem from their belief that property is more valuable than people.

This morning, I woke up in a cold sweat, anxious to find a solution to all that's been going on. While I've been praying for  the people of Ferguson, I realized that I had not yet prayed for the people oppressing them.

Wondering why it's important to pray for them? These communities are being ravaged with something far worse than looters and tear gas-filled lungs. These communities are breathing in another toxin called privilege. And it's this invisible poison that has created a blind paralysis that inhibits their ability to empathize with the marginalized.

#PrayForThePrivileged