We cannot continue to call for healing after each and every event or incident that demonstrates the evil of our way and embedded thinking. When our leaders are calling for healing all they are asking is for us to forget, we must hold them to a higher standard, no more healing without reform. No more healing without a delicate pattern of investment in our community to right the years of economic stranglehold on our community.
I watched this weekend as sections of our community burned and listened to numerous people say how crazy and stupid it was for the people to burn their community. I also watched with curiosity when the police got to the CNN Center in Atlanta and how without hesitation or over-analyzing the situation how quickly they took the building back. Now let’s ask ourselves what was so different between that business and the local corner convenience shop? Why were they so willing and able to do this? How were they able to get into the business from the back to protect the lives and property from the inside? How did they get the angry crowd on the outside to move away so quickly? Now ask yourself why they did not do this for any of the small businesses in the ethnically segregated areas of our communities using the same skills and training?
Every time a person of color gets killed by the police we rise up and chant “this needs to end, we can do better”. We call for the police to be held accountable and in a few days maybe a month we settle back into our daily conversations. We cannot let this be the end of our action, we must also demand an end of economic discrimination. We must look at our zoning codes and weed out the section that institutionalized oppression and segregation. We need to look at the types of restrictive covenants we approve on local housing projects and ask ourselves who or what are we restricting and why?
You see something as innocent as these CC&Rs we are asked to sign today when we purchase our home is what shapes our community for the future. They decide who our neighbors are going to be; they decide how well the value of our property “holds-up” or what “type of people” (code for race or economic status) will move in next door. And since our whole community is built on this structure, those same CC&Rs decide what our schools will look like, how much funding will be available to educate our kids, and even if we get neighborhood parks. They will also determine what kind of shopping will be available and how much variety we will have; they decide if we get a hospital or a minute clinic. Yes, you see from these seemingly innocent documents required by our government we get all of this cause and effect. This, my friends, is how the system works against us and how it continues to make it difficult for us to do better.
If we are serious about doing better, we must invest in the things we value. We must invest in the change we want to see.