Note: This long-form story was originally hosted on IndianapolisNewsBeat.com, a news site that no longer exists. In it’s original form, the following article had copious multimedia to tell the story.
SECTION 1: A CHAINED HISTORY, UNCHANGED
“So I feared not just the violence of this world but the rules designed to protect you from it, the rules that would have you contort your body to address the block, and contort again to be taken seriously by colleagues, and contort again so as not to give the police a reason. All my life I’d heard people tell their black boys and black girls to ‘ be twice as good,’ which is to say ‘accept half as much.’ These words would be spoken with a veneer of religious nobility, as though they evidenced some unspoken quality, some undetected courage, when in fact all they evidenced was the gun to our head and the hand in our pocket. This is how we lose our softness. This is how they steal our right to smile.”
Michael Brown was a teenager gearing up for high school graduation and getting ready to attend college.
Tamir Rice was a neighborhood boy who liked playing with toys.
Eric Garner was a big guy and a loving father, trying to break up a fight on the street.
Trayvon Martin was a boy wearing a hoodie and wanting a pack of Skittles.
All killed by police or vigilantes.
History keeps repeating itself.
Slavery and beatings, Jim Crow and racial discrimination, the 1965 Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama, and police brutality, the Birmingham church bombing and the Charleston church shooting.
Many people believe that the United States exists as a post-racial society. But the term “race” fills the ears and pours from the mouths of politicians, employers, students, social media users, celebrities and more.
Recent tragedies have caused a haunting effect for individuals familiar with the history of race in America. And some of these individuals, both young and old, have taken on the responsibility for halting the regurgitation of such events in its tracks.
There was slavery.
Slavery began in 1619 when the first African slaves were brought to Jamestown, Virginia. Their captors used the slaves to produce the lucrative crop of tobacco, essentially building the foundation of the growing nation. Blacks were shackled, whipped and forced to lived in harsh conditions. Slave trade broke up families.
In 1783, the invention of the cotton gin made the slaves even more central to the advancement of the United States. By the mid-19th century, disagreements over the concept of slavery launched the U.S. into a civil war. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. But slavery did not officially end until the 13th Amendment was ratified on Dec. 6, 1865.
Now, modern day slavery is poverty.
Old laws and regulations caused the ghettoization of blacks into communities that now experience high crime, drug use and lack of funding. Schools are more poor and impoverished individuals are rarely able to work themselves out of an almost hereditary type of poverty.
“As we impact the education level, we do see homicide levels drop,” said Douglas Hairston, former director of the mayor’s Front Porch Alliance in Indianapolis, Indiana. “We need to reserve the energy some way in each community, any community where you find poverty.”
Following the end of slavery, the Jim Crow laws took effect. These laws enforced racial segregation in the South. Blacks were required to go to separate schools, and use different water fountains and bathrooms than their white counterparts.
The government considered these laws as “separate, but equal” rights. Yet blacks were denied rights that whites had. For example, black citizens were required to pass a literacy test in order to vote.
According to Slate, the literacy test was “supposedly applicable to both white and black prospective voters who couldn’t prove a certain level of education, but in actuality disproportionately administered to black voters.”
Today, though Jim Crow laws have not existed for more than 50 years, blacks experience similar prejudice and bias in the workplace and legal system.
The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business conducted a study on racial bias in hiring. In the study, titled “Are Emily and Brendan More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal?” two university professors sent fake resumes to 1,300 job ads in the Boston Globe and the Chicago Tribune.
Marianne Bertrand, an associate professor from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, and Sendhil Mullainathan from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found that “applicants with white-sounding names are 50 percent more likely to get called for an initial interview than applicants with African-American-sounding names.”
The U.S. legal system has also affected races differently since the end of Jim Crow.
In 1995, former President Bill Clinton passed a law during his presidency that required heftier fines and longer jail sentences for the distribution of crack cocaine, as compared to the powdered version. But powdered cocaine was the more elite drug, sold and distributed in upper-echelon parties and communities. These communities rarely included blacks; the streets, where crack cocaine thrived, did.
“You had more black people going to jail because of sentencing around crack cocaine,” she said. “It’s not because black people used more drugs.”
Some activists and academics see current voter ID laws as the newest version of Jim Crow.
In the state of Missouri, House Bill 1681 would require citizens to have a specific type of photo identification to vote. Opposition to the bill believe it would suppress certain voters’ right. Supporters say that the bill prevents voter fraud, a crime that is reportedly rare.
In Texas, a federal district judge found that a Texas voter ID law intentionally discriminated against black and Latino voters, according to the opinion. Senate Bill 14 required voters to provide two of the following: driver’s license, personal identification card, United States military identification card, United States citizenship certificate that contains a photograph, United States passport or a license to carry a concealed handgun.
But during the hearing, Stephen Ansolabehere, professor of government at Harvard University testified that “blacks in Texas are twice as likely not to possess SB 14 ID…” Ansolabehere made this conclusion based on a study he conducted, which analyzed ID possession rates for Texas voters using ecological regression.
SECTION 2: THE BOYS WHO CAUSED THEIR OWN DEATHS
“Black people love their children with a kind of obsession. You are all we have, and you come to us endangered.”
― Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
The parallels between historic America and today’s racial issues go far beyond mass incarceration, legal battles or workplace discrimination.
Recently, the parallels getting the most attention are those that have ended in tragedy.
Such as the story of Tamir Rice, the boy who liked to play with toys.
Cleveland police shot and killed Tamir Rice in November 2014. He was 12 years old.
A 911 caller reported that a male was sitting on the swings pointing a gun at people in a Cleveland park, noting that the gun was “probably fake.” The caller also said that the person was probably “a juvenile.” But according to the dispatch radio, some of this aforementioned information was not relayed to the officers.
Timothy Loehmann, a white police officer, opened fire upon his arrival at the park. He faced no charges in Tamir’s death.
The internet community threw up its arms in response to the 12-year-old’s death.
Not only blacks were upset by the incident.
“The unrest if amplified because of the understanding beyond the minority community,” Hairston said. “Our white counterparts have said ‘you’re right, it’s an outrage that human beings would be treated this way.’”
Hashtags demanding justice, tweets asking Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers to get involved and haunting pictures of Emmett Till and Tamir spread across social media networks.
Cynthia Greenlee, a writer for The American Prospect, wrote an article denoting Emmett and Tamir as “black kids accused of causing their own deaths.”
But Emmett died in 1955 when he was 14 years old. He was visiting his relatives in Money, Mississippi. One day while in a grocery store, Emmett whistled at the shop owner’s wife, Carolyn Bryant, according to a 1955 TIME article.
A few days later, Roy Bryant, the shop owner, and J.W. Milam, his half brother, abducted Emmett from his bed. They beat and tortured him to death.
The two men were tried for murder in front of an all-white jury and ultimately acquitted. Mamie Till, Emmett’s mother, arranged for an open-casket funeral to showcase what was done to her son.
SECTION 3: UPRISINGS, UNREST
“That was the week you learned that the killers of Michael Brown would go free. The men who had left his body in the street like some awesome declaration of their inviolable power would never be punished. It was not my expectation that anyone would ever be punished. But you were young and still believed.”
― Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
The shooting of Tamir happened two days before a grand jury ruled not to indict another white police officer who shot a black boy.
Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old gearing up for high school graduation and getting ready to go to college.
On Aug. 9, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri, surveillance cameras showed Brown stealing cigarillos from Ferguson Market and Liquor, according to the New York Times. He and friend, Dorian Johnson, then walked down the middle of a street in Ferguson. Wilson drove up alongside Brown and Johnson and asked them to move to the sidewalk. The officer noticed that Brown fit the description of the suspect in the convenience store theft.
Wilson positioned his car to block the two boys after calling dispatch. Brown stood at the window of the police car and there was an altercation between the teenager and the officer.
The officer fired two shots from the car. Then, Brown ran east and Wilson ran after him. Brown stopped and faced the officer who also stopped. When Brown moved toward Wilson, the officer fired several more shots and killed Brown.
According to the New York Times, Brown’s body was left where it fell for four hours in the summer sun. The scene of the young man lying face down in the street with blood streaming from his head left neighbors horrified.
There was an uproar in Ferguson when Wilson was not indicted. Businesses reported looting and buildings were set on fire. Protesters threw objects at the police who were wearing riot gear. Police officers used tear gas and smoke in attempt to break up the crowd.
“If you look at this case, it’s more of a community that has had simmering racial conflicts and frustration about inequality,” Richardson said.
Ferguson is not the only time when a court decision involving police brutality incited riots and protests throughout a city.
In 1991, Rodney King, a felon on parole, led the police into a high-speed chase. He eventually surrendered. But King was intoxicated and resisted arrest. Police officers Laurence Powell, Theodore Briseno and Timothy Wind beat King with their batons. They were unaware that a bystander was recording the beating on a personal video camera. In the 89-second video, the officers are seen kicking King even though he was past the point of resisting.
And the video was released to the press.
The following video contains violence.
A Los Angeles grand jury indicted the three officers and Sgt. Stacey Koon. They were charged with assault with a deadly weapon and using excessive of force. Additionally, Koon was charged with aiding and abetting, even though did not actively beat King. Powell and Koon were also charged with filing false reports.
Judge Stanley Weisberg moved the trial outside of the county due to the uproar in Los Angeles surrounding what happened.
The jury, made up of 10 whites and no blacks, found the officers not guilty on all accounts, except for a hung jury on an assault charge against Powell.
People in Los Angeles County were furious. Similar to Ferguson, there were riots and looting that eventually grew into “the most destructive U.S. disturbance of the 20th century,” according to an article for History.com.
SECTION 4: BLACK MAN DOWN
“It is not necessary that you believe that the officer who choked Eric Garner set out that day to destroy a body. All you need to understand is that the officer carries with him the power of the American state and the weight of an American legacy, and they necessitate that of the bodies destroyed every year, some wild and disproportionate number of them will be black.”
― Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
The list of names involving black citizens and police brutality gets longer and longer.
And while some stories will never be told, other’s names have become at the least, household.
Such as Eric Garner, a big guy and loving father who tried to break up a fight on the street.
Garner was a 43-year-old black man who died on July 18, 2014.
Police knew Garner to sell untaxed cigarettes near the Staten Island Ferry terminal and had arrested him before. Officers Justin Damico and Daniel Pantaleo confronted Garner and the 6-foot-3 and 395-pound man pulled away when they attempted to put handcuffs on him.
Pantaleo put Garner into a deadly chokehold and Garner pleaded for breath 11 times, according to a cellphone video of the altercation.
First responders did not immediately administer medical aid and Garner died on the sidewalk. Pantaleo was not indicted for the death.
“The video showed him being killed even though the jury did not prosecute the officer,” Richardson of The Chicago Reporter said.
Garner’s last words of “I can’t breathe” became a battle cry for activists and protest movements against police brutality, and advocates for black lives.
Walter Scott’s name was added to the list less than a year later.
On April 4, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina, Officer Michael Slager, a white man, pulled over Scott, a black man. The traffic stop was due to a broken brake light, according to the dash cam video.
Slager told investigators that Scott tried to reach for the officer’s stun gun. But in a bystander’s video that surfaced after the incident, Scott is seen running away from the officer. Slager fired his gun eight times and hit Scott.
Then the video shows the officer dropping an object by Scott’s unmoving body.
The unarmed 50-year-old died at the scene.
Slager was fired immediately and charged for murder. But in January 2016, a judge granted the ex-officer a $500,000 bail. The trial date is set for this October, according to International Business Times.
Approximately two weeks after the death of Walter Scott, Freddie Gray died in police custody in Baltimore, Maryland.
Gray was a 25-year-old black man who was arrested on April 12, 2014. According to the Associated Press, Baltimore police arrested Gray after they “made eye contact with him and another man, and the pair [ran].” He died a week later of a spinal cord injury in the hospital.
A cellphone video of the incident circulated social media and news outlets. In the video, Gray screams as the police drag him into a transport van. Soon a theory emerged that the officers gave Gray an intentional rough ride that caused his broken neck.
Six officers involved in the arrest were charged.
Meanwhile, people smashed police car windows and storefronts in downtown Baltimore. On the day of Gray’s funeral, there was rioting, looting and arson throughout the night. More than 200 people were arrested and the Maryland National Guard was involved. It was the first civil disturbance in the state since 1968.
The officers will go on trial later this spring, according to NPR.
Then, there is the boy in the hoodie. The boy who wanted a pack of skittles. His death made the frustrations with the lack of appreciation for black lives most visible again.
Trayvon Martin was an unarmed, black 17-year-old who died while visiting his father in Sanford, Florida.
George Zimmerman, a white resident in the gated community, began patrolling the streets at night due to increased crime. He carried a licensed gun.
On Feb. 26, 2012, Martin left home to purchase candy and iced tea.
According to CNN, Zimmerman called the police to report a suspicious person walking in between homes. Police told Zimmerman not to get out of his car or to approach the person. But Zimmerman did not comply.
Neighbors heard gunshots and screams for help. Zimmerman said that he shot Martin in self-defense. And according to the police report, Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose and the back of the head.
Officer Scott Timothy arrived to the scene where a “black male wearing a gray sweater, blue jeans, and white/red sneakers [lay] face down on the ground. The black male had his hands underneath his body.” Responders were unable to resuscitate the teenager.
Martin’s father identified the body the next day after filing a missing persons report.
Christopher Serino, a Sanford Police Department homicide detective, recommended that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter. But the case was turned over to Norm Wolfinger, the Florida State Attorney.
911 calls from multiple neighborhoods witnesses and Zimmerman played roles in the trial.
“There’s just someone screaming outside,” said Jenna Lauer in a call to the police. In the background there are audible screams for help.
“Oh my God! Why would someone kill somebody like that?” said witness Jayne Surdyka in her call.
On March 22, 2012, a Change.org petition to arrest Zimmerman got more that 1.3 million signatures.
But an all-female jury found Zimmerman not guilty of both manslaughter and second-degree murder in July 2013. There were no federal civil rights charges brought against him.
Martin’s death and the details surrounding the case caused protests and rallies around the nation, challenges to the legal system and a number of resignations and terminations among law enforcement and lawyers involved.
But its greatest impact was the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement.
SECTION 5: THE DREAM AND ITS TOOLS
“But all our phrasing — race relations, racial chasm, racial justice, racial profiling, white privilege, even white supremacy — serves to obscure that racism is a visceral experience, that it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth. You must never look away from this. You must always remember that the sociology, the history, the economics, the graphs, the charts, the regressions all land, with great violence, upon the body.”
― Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
Social activism. The use of direct, often confrontational action, such as a demonstration or strike, in opposition to or support of a cause.
Protests, rallies, sit-ins and boycotts are nothing new to today’s grassroots activists.
During the Civil Rights era, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached that these types of non-violent demonstrations would send the most effective message to the opposition.
Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Nelson Mandela, Nina Simone, Mary McLeod Bethune, Lena Horne, Marva Collins, Rosa Parks, W.E.B. Du Bois and Malcolm X were all revered activists who fought for a similar dream that King had.
But they did not all demonstrate or fight in the same way.
The Black Panther Party was founded in 1966 in Oakland, California. Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seales founded the organization in the wake of Malcolm X’s assassination. Its original purpose was to defend and protect blacks from police brutality in neighborhoods.
Unlike King’s vision for nonviolence, the party soon developed Marxist ideals, and called for the arming of all black people.
However, the group also held survival programs and provided community assistant such as legal aid, transportation, education and tuberculosis testing.
Whether spreading non-violent or defensive ideals, the most common methods for spreading Civil Rights movements were through word of mouth, radio, TV and church visits.
Today, change-seekers have a different tool that the Sojourner Truths and Nelson Mandelas did not have: social media.
And social media is responsible for the newest social activism movement advocating for black lives.
The Black Lives Matter website defines the movement as a, “call to action and response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society. Black Lives Matter is a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police or vigilantes.”
The movement and hashtag #BlackLivesMatter surfaced in 2012 when a court acquitted George Zimmerman, the man who killed Trayvon Martin.
The hashtag spread over social media as a trending topic.
Founders Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors created the tag as a call-to-action that has birthed chapters of the organization around the nation and in Canada.
Now, “Black Lives Matter” are the rallying words surrounding the denouncement of all black lives lost or victimized by police and other entities.
SECTION 6: MILLENNIALS FOR CHANGE
“You must resist the common urge toward the comforting narrative of divine law, toward fairy tales that imply some irrepressible justice. The enslaved were not bricks in your road, and their lives were not chapters in your redemptive history. They were people turned to fuel for the American machine. Enslavement was not destined to end, and it is wrong to claim our present circumstance — no matter how improved — as the redemption for the lives of people who never asked for the posthumous, untouchable glory of dying for their children. Our triumphs can never compensate for this.”
― Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
Social media has allowed police brutality and discrimination to become visible again. In many incidents, a bystander used a cellphone to record the event. These videos go viral on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and have been used in court proceedings.
As a tool of the millennial generation, young people have begun demonstrating social activism, demanding their rights and attempting to mold the world into the future they want to live in.
Colleges such as University of Missouri, University of Virginia and Indiana University — Purdue University Indianapolis have played host to student rallies, die-ins and student-written manifestos calling for change.
RaeVen Ridgell is the president of Black Student Union at IUPUI. She made it her mission to bring the group back to an activist student organization. This year it has hosted a march, stood in solidarity with other schools experiencing racial issues and constructed a manifesto of demands for the chancellor of the university.
Ridgell sees herself as an activist and was inspired by many activists that came before her such as Angela Davis and Assata Shakur.
“I never want to stop,” she said. “I often have trouble standing for myself but I don’t have trouble standing for people that can’t.”
Some young activists have gotten national attention for their view advocacy for black lives.
Darius Simpson graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He is 23 years old. Simpson’s spoken word performance with Scout Bostley of “Lost Voices,” a poem about race, privilege and being a women has spread across the internet. The pair performed at a TEDx event in Detroit, Michigan.
As a young, black man in today’s society, Simpson has his own ideas about the climate of race in the U.S., the appreciation of blacks lives and the method the country should take in changing the its racial issues.
In a one-on-one interview he reflects on activism among millennials, social media and the Black Lives Matter movement.
You received a lot of attention for your spoken world. What was the inspiration behind the piece you performed on TV?
The performance poem “Lost Voices” was inspired by a poem on YouTube by Joshua Bennett and another poet who spoke about autism and silence, but mouthed the whole poem together, even if they weren’t speaking. The content of the poem was taken from what we could both speak to. I chose to speak on my experience being black and she chose to speak about what it was to be a woman. Her being white and me being a man, neither of us could really understand what it meant to be the other. We decided to illustrate what it was like to constantly be placed into a box and silenced by literally speaking for each other on stage to demonstrate what it looks like to speak for a struggle you have no idea what it is to be a part of. There was a beautiful unexpected intersection we didn’t take into account when writing which was how the poem tells the story of black women, or at least references the two ways they are oppressed belonging to both the identities in the poem.
With events such as the shooting of Tamir Rice, the death of Emmett Till, the Birmingham church bombing, the Charleston church shooting and so many other strikingly similar events, would you say that history is repeating itself?
In order for history to “repeat” itself, there would have to have been a time in this country where blacks weren’t being brutalized and murdered by white institutions. From slave patrols, to police in urban areas there has always been a presence of control over the black community. Yes, there are instances where this country got it right, both in legislation and major shifts in minor cultural aspects. However what is more true is that at every moment we can see that this country is attempting to revert to its original state of open oppression and racism. The point is that there hasn’t been a year that we haven’t had a Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, or Rekia Boyd. There hasn’t been a time we don’t experience a Charleston Shooting, or Troy Davis. Has history repeated itself? No, that same racism is moving and working just as strong as it always has.
What does #BlackLivesMatter mean to you? Is the movement/idea still doing its original job?
#BlackLivesMatter means a couple things to me, but first I think it is important to differentiate between the organization and the movement. The organization and hashtag #BlackLivesMatter began in 2013 and was founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi following the murder of Trayvon Martin and subsequent acquittal of his murderer. The organization was not present a year later in Ferguson, Missouri when Mike Brown was killed and the community rose up. It was that uprising that sparked a radical activist movement, not only in this country, but around the world. Those nameless people who faced tear gas, wooden bullets, pepper spray, military grade weapons and vehicles, and media ridicule armed with nothing but centuries of mistreatment and hurt, are to thank for the movement we have seen bring attention and opposition to the oppression of our people.
Black Lives Matter as a statement means to me that regardless of all else, regardless of what other lives matter, black lives matter. This is not to say that those other lives are not important, but in the same way the black radical movement clung to the concept of black power, we are proclaiming for our behalf and standing up for ourselves. #BlackLivesMatter the hashtag represents a mobility unlike any movement has seen on this continent. The hashtag represents all the people who look like us that have been told their lives don’t matter whether through physical attacks or verbal ones. The hashtag is a socially conscious bat signal in some cases where we are called to action based on the information attached. The hashtag and its popularity are also remnant of that Ferguson uprising that utilized Twitter to stream what was happening to them, as well as connect with one another to coordinate actions.
It seems that in the last two years, more and more people are talking about systematic racism, privilege, discrimination and other issues regarding race. Why? Was this all of a sudden?
It has been a culmination of everything that is happening in the world today. I don’t think there is any one variable that can be named as the reason people are talking about oppression more and more these days. I do acknowledge the movement is providing a space for many of those conversations in deconstructing patriarchal practices of only remembering black men killed by police, to making space for black trans and queer folks who had been silenced prior to this time. This is not to say the movement is a place for them to retreat from the oppressive society. I mean that, yes, even within a movement for liberation, there are learning curves and those places where marginalized folks speak up and challenge folks not to perpetuate the very hateful language and practices being objected to is where growth happens.
How do you think social media plays into racial issues and incidents of discrimination and police brutality?
Social media can play many roles in racism and police brutality. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, even Tumblr, have made information sharing quick and easy so that incidents are seeing mobility like never before. The downside to this instant sharing is the open ways that opposition attacks, disrespects and further marginalizes the people who are sharing information and ideas around the subject. Another negative part is the way that instant sharing of videos like Walter Scott, and Samuel Dubose is a desensitization to watching black bodies be murdered and mistreated. There is a traumatic element in constantly seeing, sharing, consuming those images for young and old. For the most part social media has been a tool for the movement in advancing liberation from the very instances that are being shared. For example, Twitter was the only place that showed what was really happening in Ferguson following the non-indictment of Mike Brown’s killer. Watching any major news station one would believe people were walking around with flamethrowers burning buildings, since those burning buildings are all that were shown. Via Twitter you could see the disconnect between the protests that were happening, peacefully, and the fires on TV.
Would you agree that many millennial and younger Americans have taken on social activism roles regarding race in America? How have you been a social activist?
I think just like in every generation, we are amidst a movement. And like all who have come before us, we have to decide where we will stand in these times, or whether we will stand at all. On a large scale, our generation has definitely taken on a role of social activism and cultural awareness due to recent events. I attribute anything I have learned about activism, again, back to Ferguson from chants to direct action planning and execution. It wasn’t until going there, talking to the people, and getting in the streets with them that I was inspired to do something more than just share videos and tweet condolences. They showed me, and the world, the formula to resistance in its most basic form, got organized and even to this day fight with everything they have in them. Social activism is a big part of my life now, not just for causes that directly affect me, but for liberation of all people.
If history is repeating itself, or if America does have a race problem, what do we do to fix it?
We fight back, resist, and shut it down at every available possibility. From the desegregation that wasn’t made real until the national guard went down South, from the abolition of slavery, from the Civil Rights Act, Fair Housing Act, this country has only moved because it had no choice. In a capitalist society, change in one direction or the other only occurs because those in power saw a benefit in that direction. The remedy is to take the power through both infiltrating those systems of power positions, and holding those people publicly accountable for their words and actions. Unity is the underlying necessity to ending racism. I speak about racism as a structural system of oppression, not an essential belief that one’s race is inherently superior to other races. The belief will never go away but the system can be broken down, if enough people are willing to risk what it takes to get there.