KineticsLive.com | When and Where I Grieve‏

When and Where I Grieve

By Yolanda Pierce, Ph.D.,

The tears started while I was sitting in a Barnes and Noble bookstore and they refused to stop. I gathered my laptop and purse, hurried back to the car, and sat quietly – expecting the flow to cease. But it would not. Tears were in my eyes on the way back home and tears stayed with me throughout the day. I wept while folding the laundry and while trying to decide what to cook for dinner. There is a moment when you grieve that you can no longer make tears – instead, your silent cries are felt in the pit of your stomach or in the wordless moans that escape your mouth.

It is difficult to put into words what triggered this particular moment of grief. All I can explain is that the weight of being black in a world that hates black existence came rushing forward and I could no longer contain my anger, rage, or grief in a series of polite conversations and academic panels. I could no longer form the right words to describe how it feels to wake up in a world where a police officer can brutally assault and rape black women, violate the terms of his bail, and yet again be released from jail a second time since the courts have determined that he poses “no significant threat” while he awaits trial. I no longer had the means for polite discourse when trying to describe how police leaving the dead body of a murdered teen uncovered on the street for over four hours paralleled the worse of the American tradition for lynching. I did not have the right language to express my horror at the multiple deaths of black women whose only “crime” had been to say no to sexual advances. I had no language in response to the horrors of racism and misogyny that greeted me each morning.

Our culture privileges words and texts. If you want to be taken seriously and considered intelligent and rational, you are asked to respond to horrific events with sustained textual or oral analysis. I had been doing my best…writing, when I was asked to write, and speaking and preaching, when asked to do so. I’ve lectured and written on the historical, theological, racial, and societal implications of several recent events. But while sitting in Barnes and Nobles, my words failed because my words were no longer adequate. Living with terror requires more than just words. Dealing with the realities of the terrorized black body in America requires my entire soul…and my soul wept. The horrors had simply surpassed the ability of my pen to write and so my tears took up where my pen left off.

On that particular morning, my tears were triggered by a rendition of “There is Room at the Cross,” playing on my headphones. I thought about all the various meanings of the cross for Christians: a place of atonement and redemption; a place of suffering and shame; a place of lynching and execution; even a place of promise and resurrection. But on that particular morning, the cross represented a place where I was encouraged to grieve. Whatever the cross means in a person’s own theology, we know that the family of Jesus and his disciples grieved the death of one whom they loved. We know that tears were shed at the death of a beloved child, a cherished teacher, a dear friend, and a valued leader whose entire existence confounded Roman authority. The cross is a place where there is always more room for the grieving.

The foot of the cross is a place where I can grieve for all the deaths and for all the people that are “ungrievable.” And so I grieve for the women whose claims of rape aren’t taken seriously because they are sex workers. I grieve for those whose only crime is walking while black or driving while black. I grieve for the mothers and fathers burying their children much too soon. I grieve for women who stay home rather than face street harassment. I grieve for those triggered by the sight of blue lights in their rearview windows. I grieve for parents who have to teach racial life lessons while their children are still toddlers. I grieve for black women whose murdered bodies barely rate a mention during the evening’s news. And I grieve for those who do not have a community to support them while they grieve.

At the foot of the cross, or at the site of any of these lynchings, state executions, murders, or injustices, there must be a place to allow the tears to flow and the moans to escape. There must be a place – beyond words or sermons or essays – which allows the body to grieve. Before we can heal the land, repair the breach, or right the wrongs, our souls are crying for a moment to mourn. The grief is both personal and collective as we grieve for our own losses and for the losses of others.  But when and where I grieve, my heart, body, and soul insist that this space, this moment, and this loss must be acknowledged. I grieve because it matters. I grieve because even when my voice is silenced, my tears will tell their own story.

Dr. Yolanda Pierce is the Elmer G. Homrighausen Associate Professor of African American Religion and Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary, and Liaison with the Princeton University Center for African American Studies. She blogs @ Reflections of an Afro-Christian Scholar 

 

 

KineticsLive.com | When and Where I Grieve‏.

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Nigeria: hopes for return of kidnapped schoolgirls rise after ceasefire reported | World news | The Guardian

The Nigerian government says it has agreed a ceasefire with the Islamist militant group Boko Haram and is negotiating for the release of 219 schoolgirls kidnapped six months ago.The deal would mark a huge breakthrough after a five-year insurgency by extremists seeking to create an Islamic state in the north of Africa’s most populous country. It has left thousands dead and a worldwide outcry was prompted when the girls were abducted in April from the north-eastern town of Chibok.Members of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign tweeted: “We are monitoring the news with huge expectations.”But questions surrounded the purported agreement on Friday. Similar claims from the government and military have failed to bear fruit. The Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, is expected to declare that he is standing for re-election, and positive news about the hostages and insurgency could deflect criticism of his handling of the crisis.Mike Omeri, a government spokesman, told a press conference in the capital, Abuja: “Already, the terrorists have announced a ceasefire in furtherance of their desire for peace. In this regard, the government of Nigeria has, in similar vein, declared a ceasefire.”Omeri claimed that there had been direct negotiations this week about the release of the missing girls. Boko Haram negotiators “assured that the schoolgirls and all other people in their captivity are all alive and well”, he said.The truce was announced on Friday by Nigeria’s chief of defence staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, who ordered his troops to comply immediately with the agreement. Boko Haram has not made a public statement

via Nigeria: hopes for return of kidnapped schoolgirls rise after ceasefire reported | World news | The Guardian.

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How Far the US Government Went to Subvert the Black Panther Party φ The Atlanta Star

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How Far the US Government Went to Subvert the Black Panther Party

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10 Black Scholars Who Debunked Eurocentric Propaganda – Atlanta Blackstar

Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop Senegalese-born Cheikh Anta Diop (1923 – 1986) received his doctorate degree from the University of Paris and was a brilliant historian, anthropologist, physicist and politician and one of the most prominent and proficient black scholars in the history of African civilization. Contrary to the long-standing European myth of a Caucasian Egypt,  Diop’s …

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How the Republican Hold on the South Could Collapse ∇ Newsweek

How the Republican Hold on the South Could Collapse

By Pema Levy / July 8, 2014 11:41 AM EDT   

7_11_FE0203_DixieBlue_01

As minorities head to the South, the Republican grip on politics is under threat. Pictured, Obama supporters celebrate his election in 2008. Mario Tama/Getty
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Filed Under: U.S., The South, Democrats, Republicans

Henry L. Marsh III wanted to see President Barack Obama’s second inauguration in person because, at 79, he figured he might not live to see another black president elected. So the Virginia civil rights lawyer spent January 21, 2013, in Washington, D.C., witnessing a part of history he had dedicated his life to making possible.

His presence at Obama’s inauguration, however, set off one of the dirtiest political maneuvers in recent history.

Marsh is a Democrat in the Virginia Senate, a chamber that until last month was divided evenly along party lines, with 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans. But with Marsh 100 miles away in Washington, Republicans briefly enjoyed a 20-19 majority, if only for a few hours. In a power grab so brazen it caught even the GOP governor by surprise, Senate Republicans passed a bill redrawing the state Senate map to give them a permanent majority.

By the time Marsh returned, his colleagues had passed a redistricting bill that would have vastly undercut the political power of black Virginians. The new map crowded black voters into minority-heavy districts so that up to eight more districts would turn red, a strategy political scientists call “pack and crack,” leaving Republicans with a 27-13 majority in Virginia for years to come. As if to pour salt on the wound, this all happened on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The plan never made it out of the Republican-controlled legislature. Two and a half weeks after the Senate passed the new map, the Republican speaker in Virginia’s lower chamber, after much reflection and prayer, angered his own party by killing the map with a procedural move.

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“Count that as a new low for hyper-partisanship, dirty tricks and the unaccountable arrogance of power,” declared The Washington Post, echoing the widespread shock at the sly incident that made a mockery of democracy.

That attempt may seem extraordinary up close, but take a step back to look at the changing demographics of Virginia and the South more broadly and this power play starts to make sense. Two months before, Obama had won the state for a second time. For the first time since 1964, Virginia was on its way from red to blue.

Virginia’s Republicans were seeing decades of political control melting away before their eyes. “They tried to seize power that they didn’t deserve,” Marsh said. “They got caught with their hand in the cookie jar.”
SOUTHERN EXPOSURE

To understand why the Republican Party has come to dominate the South—and why that strength may now be waning—you have to go back to the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln and Northern abolitionists ran the Republican Party in the 1860s, while the Democrats drew much of their strength from the slave states. After Reconstruction, when the Southern states were left to their own devices, the Democratic Party ruled with an iron fist—and Jim Crow. Their reign lasted nearly a century.

The GOP in Dixie, political scientist V.O. Key Jr. observed in 1949, more closely resembled a cult or a conspiracy than a political party. In 1950, of the 127 members of Congress from the former Confederate states, just two were Republican.

But the Democrats’ stranglehold on the South was already loosening. Perhaps no one embodied, or facilitated, the South’s transformation from the Democrats’ Solid South to the regional anchor of today’s Republican Party as much as Strom Thurmond.

7_11_FE0203_DixieBlue_02After Democratic President Harry Truman embraced civil rights ahead of his re-election bid in 1948, Southern Democrats broke from the party in protest. They wanted to send a message to Democrats in Washington: Either civil rights go, or the South goes.

A group of Southern lawmakers formed the “Dixiecrats,” who were devoted to states’ rights, and nominated Thurmond, the former Democratic segregationist governor of South Carolina, for president. On a hot day in Birmingham, Alabama, Thurmond made his first speech to Southern deserters as their presumptive nominee.

“There’s not enough troops in the Army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the nigra race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes and into our churches,” Thurmond told them. That November, he won over a million votes and carried four states in the Deep South.

Thurmond and his fellow Dixiecrats weren’t kidding around. Two months after President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in July 1964, Thurmond, by then a U.S. senator, switched parties from Democrat to Republican. That November, five Southern states followed his lead and voted for Barry Goldwater, the Republicans’ ultra-conservative presidential nominee. In 1964, more Southern whites voted Republican than Democrat for the first time. They never went back.

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Our people can no longer deny the epidemic of police violence facing our community. We can no long sit by and allow our children to believe that their membership in our community is an unsafe one and thus their lives are blemished without relief to an unchecked wave of police injustice sanctioned by their own government. We must face that there is a race war in America. Its in Ferguson, MO, yes. It is also in every police precinct in America. 

Vonderrit Deondre Myers, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant and countless others who have been unjustly killed by police. Their lives mattered. but for our children what does their murder mean, how much of the trauma of these deaths do they carry forth in their lives? We must OWN OUR CHILDREN’S PAIN.

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