It’s impossible to not be aware of the injustices in the world due to our twenty-four hour news cycle. And, with the recent uproar from protests in the United States due to the recent police killings of four Black people — Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Elijah McClain and George Floyd the truth about daily injustices that Black people encounter at the hands of the police are finally be accepted by the majority.
As many major cities have seen daily peaceful protests, it’s been quite comforting to see not only Black people and other People of Color hitting the streets in unity for change. There has been local legislative changes that have come down swiftly over the last few weeks nationally and locally. It hasn’t been perfect, but, it’s been a start that’s long overdue. And it shows that the power of protests are real and so is the power of the people.
In that power there is a lot of pain. As a Black man, I have to deal with the fact that many see me as a threat due to the color of my skin. My melanin has been weaponized due to a history of overt and covert racism that has pegged Black people as animals. So, now where do we go. Just look at the recent situation in Central Park where Amy Cooper (a white woman) lied to the police stating that an African American man was threatening her. When in reality, Christian Cooper, who was bird-watching in the park asked Amy Cooper (no relation) to leash her dog — in an area where dogs are suppose to be on a leash. She used her whiteness to weaponize the police against a Black man because she felt it was her right to do so.
With all that’s going on right now, to many people this feels like some new, but, racism is as old as America itself.
Myself with my son Hendrix
The road has been paved with over 400 HUNDRED YEARS of slavery (including the modern prison system), legal discrimination & oppression (voting rights, home ownership, interracial marriage, jobs), red lining, over policing and the disbelief of your word — that’s the Black experience. And there’s nothing fun about it. But, how to we move forward — the voice of We The People.
Today, we see people of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientation and gender pounding the pavement in peaceful protest — and I was one of them in Philadelphia. Why did I protest? I did it for myself and I did it for my son.
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. History. When Black people stood, marched, sacrificed and died of for civil rights — changes were made toward equality. Today, the fight for equality still goes on and with the atrocities of the continued deaths, over-policing and systemic oppression of Black & brown people. As a Black man, a father, husband and human being, it’s my duty to stand up for what’s right. So many people have the option to sit on the sidelines, not seeing that silence as complacency, but, my skin doesn’t allow me to take a back seat. My son will know that his father stood up for what’s right and the equality of his people. During the protest, I was able to connect with people from all backgrounds, who understand that this isn’t an issue of human rights! . Below are a few links of places you can support with your time and donations to help . – The National Bail Project @nationalbailout — https://secure.actblue.com/donate/freeblackmamas2020 – Pull Up or Shut Up – https://www.instagram.com/pullupforchange/ – @campaignzero Zero – https://www.joincampaignzero.org/ – Transgender Law Center Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project – @thelovelandfoundation – https://thelovelandfoundation.org/loveland-therapy-fund/ – Blacklives Matter Philly @blmphilly – https://blmphilly.wedid.it/ There are tons of groups to check, support and donate to! The main goal is to educate yourself, look at yourself, social circles and your own thoughts. . #BlackLivesMatter #Philly #WeAreHuman #RightToLife
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What Side Of History Are You On
When the chant/phrase — Black Lives Matter was resounding collectively from all of us in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I could feel the energy of the thousand or so people. It was one of the few times in my entire existence that I felt as though my skin color and life truly mattered to others. It’s truly a frightening experience to think that there are people that see me as sub-human because of the color of my skin.
As a thirty four year-old Black man, I’ve dealt with my fair share of prejudice/racist treatment. From being profiled (with guns drawn) by the Philadelphia Police for matching the description of a bulgar to being continuously pulled over and belittled by officers simply because they’re having a bad day.
Each day, I wake up in my predominately white neighborhood and I have sense of terror, unease and panic. That panic and sense of unrest became more prominent the day that president Trump won the election, because I was living in a world where I was an other. One of my neighbor celebrated “his election win” by walking around our development brandishing his firearm. For seven years, my family has lived in that house and not once did he walk around in public showing off his gun. Soon after that there were a handful of times that I heard “we did it” signified that there was sense of our team versus theirs, but, from a societal level that was based purely on hate.
As a kid from North Philly, I felt rage, anger — but, more over the feelings of sadness and depression were more prevalent. Growing up tough, educated and Black can often leave you at a crossroad to how you react to situations. Should I throw blows or get out and protest and trust in system. But, when your life has been dichotomy of living multiple existences in one body, you can breakdown because things seem hopeless and always stacked against you. I don’t get to just wake up, get in my car and go to work without worry. Unfortunately, I have to make sure I’m driving just the right speed because I’m more likely to get pulled over. Or, if I’m walking down the street and a white woman feels threatened by my existence in her space the cops might be called on me. Or if I’m not being a “respectable/good Black” person, I can be seen as a danger.
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The issue is bigger than black and white, but, for now — we need to see that this injustice affects people that look like me at a higher rate. To many of you, I’m your friend, a needed ear and someone that you’d missed if my life was taken away because I’m seen as a threat because of the color of my skin. It’s been so long for us “fighting the good fight” through protests, legislation and becoming more educated, however, we’re still seen as less than human. Seeing the senseless killing of black & brown people on an almost daily basis isn’t just disheartening, it’s creating a sense of PTSD among the black community at large. . I can’t believe that I have to think that each day I leave my house could be my last. With this last string of killings of these beautiful African American individual, a tipping point was reached in the country. We’ve seen a lot of solidarity among different races and ethnicities and I couldn’t be happier to see the support. But, when the small groups of fool hijacked what were peaceful protest and turn them into looting extravaganzas, my heart fell. It fell because from a media perspective, it was young black youth being seen looting and destroying many local business that were built on the backs of individuals the worked so hard to get to that point in their lives. It NEEDS TO STOP. Let’s get back to protesting, challenging our leaders to lead and truly stand up for OUR RIGHT TO LIVE. If you’re in the majority, please stand up for the minorities because your voice push the change. We can’t do this alone. . We ARE NOT A THREAT, WE ARE HUMAN! Please support us and lets bring this country together. . #StandWithUs #BlackLivesMatter #GEORGEFLOYD #BREONNATAYLOR #AhmaudArbery #RIghtToLife #UnitedWeStand #Philly #yophillymag #amplifymelanatedvoices
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But, with some much injustice and strife coming to light — the world is finally moving forward. People are standing up and demanding change and the legislature is listening. With historic policy changes from a policing level to how businesses review their hiring, promoting and HR practices — people are of color of finally being seen. But, this battle will be long one.
We’re at the point in history where there’s needs to be cultural change, so that future generations will know and understand the systematic atrocities and biases that have plague this country and people of color since its inception. And, to know that it’s WRONG!
Hopefully, my son will see that his father was actively apart of the change. And, he will use his voice to demand equality for not only people that look like him, but, to all that are facing injustice.
How Can You Help
We all must demand justice for the recent police killings of:
LIST OF MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
Therapists, podcasts, articles, blogs, apps
Founder & Creative Director of Men's Style Pro, Sabir has a deep passion for menswear and all things manly. Selected as one of the "5 Best Dressed Men In America" by Esquire Magazine in 2010 & as #GQFall 2013 Best Dressed Man. As of 2014, Sabir serves as a freelance brand ambassador & executive stylist for GQ Magazine & GQ Report. Outside of that partnership, Sabir serves as an independent brand consultant as well. Reach me directly at SABIR@MENSSTYLEPRO.COM