Monday, March 7, 2022

Bloody Still on Monday

 There is an iconic picture of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his wife, the beautiful Coretta Scott King and all there other now legendary names of the Civil Rights Movement immortalized as they crossed the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama.  

It is striking. 

Dressed in suits and Sunday best, these clergy and community leaders dared to defy systemic and institutionalized racism in the Jim Crow South. They marched to proclaim on The Lord's Day that all God's children were deserving of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness this country so boldly proclaims as our high tenants.

We know the story.

They were battered, beaten, and bruised.

Not all walked out unscathed.

My namesake was there, Sister Mary Antona Ebo, FSM, the only Black nun in that collection of clerics from Missouri who took that trip south because "I had to be here." 

Her story has been told over and over by those who never spoke to us, the family, about who she was, or revered.

And that is ok, that is what happens with public figures, they become larger than life, but they had a life.

In 2015, in the fledging emerging after Ferguson's high from the previous October when the activists were trying to figure out their what next after the cameras left and they couldn't elicit the same roaring emotional response to yet another chant, some of them sought out her wisdom.

She was failing in health and in the final year before she passed away in November 2017, she was not fully lucid or aware. She lived long past my mother, her dear friend, long past the Rabbi who was her escort, long past so many. 

Sister Antona Ebo was too frail to make the journey south for the Fiftieth Anniversary Commemoration.

My son was there, he was still as student at Alabama State University and their cadre of scholars made that journey every year along the back roads from Montgomery to Selma.

This morning, I couldn't help thinking about her and then about today.

Yesterday was Bloody Sunday Commemoration.

My fraternity brothers were there in large numbers, their regional conference coinciding with the date.

The first and only woman VP and only Black Asian woman and her husband, the First Gentleman, made that crossing. 

Mirroring the iconic images of the first Black President years earlier, she is centered, surrounded by noted leaders and dignitaries, by wheelchair bound elders who gave their all for civil, social, and human rights when the consequences were dire, followed by scores and scores of young people eager for a change they could see today, they marched across that bridge.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Act and For the People Act have been stalled in a racially motivated, systemic oppression minded, just mean-spirited senate. Not unlike the Bull Conner and dog hoses, they have chosen to ignore the call of the people to be full citizens of the republic.

It is still Bloody on Monday.

We are watching with horror a war of a little man who wanted to be king and almost toppled this government when he installed his puppet as president. We are still paying that price.

There is a truck convoy, tardy to the party, trying to replicate what they saw happen north of the Border, while the tide has shifted but they still want to have their little boy fun and say they did something.

The same kind of women who screamed and hurled slurs at little kids trying to go to school are the same ones that hurled insults to the President at his State of the Union Address and are the same ones that have been at school board meetings, sidewalk temper tantrums over public safety, and every kind of display of adults losing their human decency.

There are many activists on Instagram and on Twitter. There is a post circulating reminding us that "White Supremacy Doesn't Take a Day Off." 

It has been exhausting to live through the ever evolving subtle changes of the same evil for five hundred years.

I woke up this morning thinking about all those who are at rest now, names we know and names we don't know, who keep pressing.

Some in public and some in private spaces, not the ones with book deals and multimillion dollar homes or jobs granted to them by some white liberal philanthropist who wanted to be a part of it. No, not the ones pushed into the public spotlight making their money on the body of a slain Black boy or Black girl, but the many many who were left behind in Selma, left behind in Ferguson, left behind in Baltimore, left behind in Minneapolis, left behind left behind left behind, after the dignitaries leave.

It is still Bloody on Monday.

And white women are still calling the police on little Black boys in school because they are "scared."

And white men are still insecure about their existence so they legislate women's bodies while trying to keep their "rights" to steal, kill, and destroy.

Black men, especially the hotepians, are still trying to emulate what they perceive as power and influence, wielding their rhetoric on social media and across pulpits.

Black women are still at the bottom of the social barrel trying to live their lives free from the exploiters and imitators who take the creative flair and make millions on what is natural to us.

The POC Crowd is still trying to erase the work of African Americans while benefitting from being the exotic other that EuroAmericans tolerate for being white adjacent.

While the lure of the crowds and the energy of the chants has waned, the call for justice remains. The issues pointed out in 1965 remain the same. 

The question now remains will there by tangible change? Lasting? In this rapidly browning nation? Or will it become an apartheid state? 

It is still Bloody on Monday. 

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