Before Freddie Gray became a statistic he was a man. A happy, popular, handsome guy, who according to his uncle, always knew how to make people laugh. Now this happy go lucky young man has become an increasingly common and awkward symbol of modern oppression in the United States.
Modern oppression is a rigid ugly concept that continues to sweep our communities and to cause acts against citizens by those who are supposed to shield us from all manner of harm. These violent acts by those who promised to faithfully serve and protect their communities force common citizens to distrust one another and those called to serve for the greater good. We are at an impasse and must demand justice and equality for ALL Baltimore City citizens. Citizens look to those in charge for examples, but with examples like these we will never gain what we have so desperately fought to achieve in recent decades, the freedom from everything that causes racial tensions.
Where there should be healing in 2015 there is now suspicion. This community is tired of the kind of policing where criminal acts are being committed under a legal guise. What of the tipping point toward solidarity and equality for all people? The critical mass seems to have tipped in the wrong direction. It seems that everyone has become guilty by some flavor of association. It seems that Freddie Gray is a victim of the same association. Guilt by association is a perception that does not have a legitimate place within the business of policing.
On the morning of April 12th, Freddie Gray unknowingly happened upon what would be his final walk through the streets of Baltimore City, because minutes after he was apprehended he was fatally injured and died one week later. The charge? Carrying a concealed weapon. Ultimately, the reasons he was originally apprehended and the cause of his injuries is still not altogether clear. All we are certain of is that Freddie Gray became one of many black men in Baltimore City to undergo police brutality and then, one of many to succumb to it.
Not all cops are bad but the few that are can make an entire force appear corrupt. What kinds of people are policing our streets and what drives them to brutality? We as a community are upset, frustrated, and confused, and we must have answers. We are tired of the racist attitudes toward our black citizens that are coming from the Baltimore City police force. In order for all citizens to gain equality we must empower our disenfranchised with positive examples and encouragement. We must embolden those who struggle everyday by not continuing to force them down. We cannot allow to continue the behavior that deprives black youth of the simple right to walk down a street without fear of being tazed or shot.
PLEASE NOTE, we are tired of those individuals in our Baltimore City police force who are putting everyone’s lives on the line by seemingly trying to incite race wars amongst otherwise good people. Some policing behavior is forcing this divide amongst diverse citizens and it seems like a well-orchestrated and purposeful plan. The bullying attitude from our police force needs to change and we as citizens have the power to cause change.
There are many constructive avenues we can take to circumvent our confusion and anger about how Freddie Gray was unjustifiably killed. Anger and hate toward one another will not benefit anyone. The answers often become clear through advocacy and education, which can lead to a higher commitment to one’s values and pull people together in positive ways. Peaceful protest in large numbers leads to dramatic and significant changes in policy and attitudes. Through peaceful protest, we have seen policy changes relative to the death penalty, workplace discrimination, same sex marriage, and women’s rights. A call for a community of faith to come together is in order because we need God to order our steps.
We must push against bad policing because BLACK LIVES MATTER.
Metropolitan Community Church of
Baltimore Social Justice Advocate and
Editor – Rev. Victoria L. Burson Sr. Pastor