• Nicole Belvedere

The Finish Line

Updated: Feb 2, 2021

How can we catch our breath, when it feels like the marathon has just begun? To be in a race that never ends without a finish line in sight is despairing.

Last year after the death of rapper Nispsy Hussle, social media was overflowing with #TheMarathonContinues post. People began to talk about community building, Black entrepreneurship and developing a sense of something bigger than ourselves as individuals. In January of this year, we lost basketball legend Kobie Bryant. His death prompted a sense of pride in family and fatherhood across social media. No longer were the captions quoting Rick Ross's infamous line from "Stay Schemin'" but instead they were flooded with #girldad. Like funerals bring together broken families, both of these tragic deaths seem to somehow have brought a sense of togetherness across Black America.

While dealing with the stress caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic (that disproportionately affects our people), we are also coping with acts of domestic terrorism against us. False police reports, racist hunting, and police brutality continue to plague our world. In 2016, Will Smith appeared in the tonight show where he made the statement "Racism isn't getting worse, it's getting filmed." His words ring loudly today.

Earlier this month, a video was released showing the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. He was literally hunted down by the father and son duo Gregory and Travis McMicheal. It took law enforcement 74 days to arrest the them. His murder echoed the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012. White neighborhood vigilantes who considering being black worth the death penalty.

On Monday, George Floyd was executed by Minneapolis Police Officers. Watching the video we heard the same cries as those made by Eric Garner who was killed by New York police officers in 2014. "I can't breathe". Watching the video of Mr. Floyd's murder was heart wrenching. We literally saw him take his last breaths and life leave his body.

These crimes against black humanity prove that not only does The Marathon continue. It has just begun.

We have kneeled, we have marched, we have rioted yet very little to no changes have come about. What are our next steps? Who are out leaders today? During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, we had both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Malcolm X. While their methods may have differed, the goal was one in the same. The Black Panther Party founded in 1966 worked to secure and protect our communities from the terrorism of White America. Where are our leaders today?

We are hurt, we are angry, but we are not broken. As members of the African Diaspora, we are descendants of warriors and royalty. We are resilient and with the right leadership we will overcome. There is power in unity and hopefully there will be enough outrage to bring us together and stop the rest of the world from tearing us apart.

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