HIER STEHE ICH. HOW ABOUT YOU?
At the Diet of Worms (The Church Convention) in 1521 friar Martin Luther was ordered to appear before the princes of the Holy Roman Empire (Princes Temporal and Princes Spiritual). The Church was threatening and demanding that he recant his 95 Theses (why selling of indulgences was wrong). After making his case he raised his hand and declared “hier stehe ich” German for Here I stand. He was standing by his Theses.
The year 2015 is presenting Blacks all over the world a chance to say here I stand. Where do you as a person stand on the revolution going on in USA? Where is our collective stand as American Africans; as Blacks are gunned down every week? Have you marched or expressed concern in any way? Or are we sitting it out and hoping that others would strengthen things out for us and then we will stand up and claim the victory? The fruits of other people's struggle? I know a few cases where American boys born to Africans had been killed in questionable circumstances while dealing with the police. I can therefore say that when Black boys are shot at they could be our own children even when the parents are not necessarily Africans. Injustice to one is injustice to all.
Where do you stand?
The struggle for social, economic equality was waged in the 60's/70's by the Rev. Martin Luther and his comrades. Most of us were not born or lived in Nigeria at the time. The fruits of those struggles are now available to us. It is because of their struggles that we now have internet warriors. We can cast our votes; demand employment and promotion; send our kids to any schools we can afford; build and own houses in some once forbidden territories. But if police brutalities threaten our young men and women, those gains would erode as our sons become intimidated. They would no longer be able to stand up and claim their citizenship rights. How about a letter to your local newspaper expressing disgust, or joining the marches in your locality as I have done a few times. Do you think you do not matter; that you will not make a difference?
Think again. You do matter. You can make a difference.
The question of where one stands applies to many other groups. Where do other minorities stand? Hispanics, Asians, Arabs, Gays/Lesbians, etc.? During the fight for civil rights American Blacks, just like now, bore the brunt of the fight. But the benefits are now shared by all. Are we again leaving it to US Blacks to fight alone? If the battle for a fair policing is won will all of us not benefit from it? Is it not disturbing that any white man, police or civilian, could kill any black man and not suffer any consequences? A civilian murdered Travis Martin and “stand your ground law” was sufficient alibi to set him free by a white only jury. He is free indeed! A gang of New York police choked a black man to death in daylight and the gang was absolved because they were doing their duty. It was not considered excessive force. The story is the same in Ohio, Maryland and many other cities east and west; north and sought. But when a black man kills another black or God forbid, a white man, there are no laws protecting him. Our prisons are overloaded with young African American boys.
The silence of good people is the harbinger for evil deeds.
We should of course recognize the overwhelming support that has been provided by many segments of America. In the lily white suburb where I live, the marches were organized by white church leaders and attracted many in the community as we marched from one church to another and prayed for healthy race relations. We must recognize the Jewish community who like in the civil rights marches provided material, spiritual resources, and also shed their own blood. It is happening again.
But America African's voices ought to be heard. It is our fight too.
Where do you stand?
Written by Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba.