Time to Lose Our Chains
An Open Letter… to every Black Woman and Black Man this can Possible Reach
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
This has been a trying year. I see what you see and I feel what you feel. We watch people debate the value of our lives while we suffer the fools that think they know better than us… about us. Our schools are closing. Our children are riding a school to prison pipeline and Black women are more likely to die giving birth in Texas than in some third world countries. I am fed up. I grew up on Fannie Lou Hamer. I remember the first time I read those infamous words. I AM SICK AND TIRED OF BEING SICK AND TIRED. I was a child. I didn’t fully understand it but, like every Black child, the fatigue of oppression rang true to me.
Today, I understand every single word she spoke.
I was tasked with sharing what 2018 and the political climate means for Black people…from my perspective. I created an outline. Did my research and started to write something “Meaningful”… and then Erica Garner died. Nothing seems more meaningful than that. We have watched America rip a Black family to shreds, right before our eyes. We don’t have to wonder what this current administration thinks about us. They have shown their hand.
Eric Garner cried out eleven times, I CAN’T BREATHE before the cop that murdered him released the chokehold. Then, he lay there on the sidewalk for seven minutes before the ambulance arrived. He died and the cop that killed him is still on NYPD payroll. Erica Garner was a high-risk pregnancy in a state that ranked 40 out of 50 states on the maternal mortality of Black women. Texas is worse. Here in Texas, the sitting Republican House discarded the bills that would provide research and a plan to decrease the number of Black women that died giving birth. They killed bills that could have saved Black lives because the Freedom Caucus felt disrespected. This is what America is doing to Black people.
I understand I might be using some very “strong words” that might make some people uncomfortable. That’s fair. I say it doesn’t get more uncomfortable than living in a state that refused to accept federal healthcare assistance that would provide Black children with the healthcare they rightfully deserve. It doesn’t get more uncomfortable than living in a state where Black women are sexually violated in the parking lot of a Texaco, by police officers, and she receives no justice. It doesn’t get more uncomfortable than watching this current administration disrespect us at every turn.
It is time to put a stop to this madness. We have the power to make it happen. We have the knowledge. We know exactly how this country works and it is time we use our collective knowledge to demand justice and equality for every Black man and women in the state of Texas. EVERY BLACK PERSON. EVERY BLACK BODY DESERVES EQUALITY, NOW. We have the endurance. We have the numbers and we have the will to fight.
When asked, “What does 2018 mean to Black women?”
My truest answer, “Whatever we command it to mean, it will mean.” The power we need to change the course of our lives already lies within our hands.
Do we have unity? Do we understand that we divide amongst ourselves and diminish our power while they group us together and take us out? Do we all understand this is how we lose? Are we willing to acknowledge that the ‘enemy of our enemy is our friend?’ But most importantly, do we understand that anyone who seeks to oppress any Black person is an enemy to every Black person? Do we have the courage to put our collective good before any singular advancement?
This is our time. It requires work but we can make huge gains in 2018 that will set us up to dominate in 2020. And when I say “us” I mean just that. We have to take responsibility for sharing what we know to those who don’t know. We have to organize. We have to be willing to work together. We have got to be patient and dedicated to educating the disenfranchised. They will never know the role they can play unless we teach them. It is up to us to make sure the people that represent our collective interests are in seats that will benefit our Black lives. We have a right to demand representation. On March 6, 2018 we have an opportunity to send a loud and clear message to everyone. Let them hear us in the primary election so there is no confusion during the general. We are the Black vote. We are the decisive vote. When we unite as one, we have the ability to make or break every single candidate in this state. Tell them there will be no peace until there is justice and equality. We are the architects of our own future and we have nothing to lose but our chains. They know it and that is the very reason they fear us.
Like Fannie Lou Hamer, it’s time to tell it like it is. It’s time to speak truth to power and work to build something solid for all Black Texans. Or…we can keep doing the same things we’ve been doing. And we can keep losing.
2018 is whatever we command it to be…
Kandice Webber currently resides in Houston, Texas. She is a native Texan who grew up in rural central Texas. She is a registered nurse and is currently in graduate school. She is a leader in BLM Houston as well as a founding member of Houston Rising. She is also the lead organizer for the March for Black Women: Houston