I’ve been thinking a lot lately about intersectionality. The place where all oppression meets. The point of common pain. We have a movement happening in this country. It started with Mike Brown and become a national force to be reckoned with on the news the Eric Garner’s government-sponsored killer would face no consequences. It has continued on the back of our collective horror of the killing—once again by a police officer–of 12 year old Tamir Rice in less than 2 seconds.
We could ride this movement for years to come on those stories, plus the stories of Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Remarley Graham, Oscar Grant, Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Jonathan Ferrell, and the (unfortunately), many others. And I pray that the movement continues strong and powerfully. I stand united for Black Lives Matter.
But I’m wondering if we can expand the movement and make room for all the ways in which Black and Brown people are oppressed. Can we raise our collective voices and protest and rally for the egregious and calculated mass incarceration of People of Color? Can we add the fight for a $15 minimum wage to our demands? Is it possible to include the demand for the absolute legalization of marijuana (or at the very least the decriminalization)? What other cause that would ease the oppression of POC could we use the momentum we have to address while we have the country’s, indeed the world’s attention?
Because cops, security guards, and self-appointed vigilantes need to stop murdering unarmed Black men. And this country needs to dismantle the prison industrial complex that incarcerates POC at rates at many multiples times our representative population in this country. Because a living wage to begin to lift people out of poverty is not only good for POC, but it’s good for this country. And I’m sorry…but NOBODY who is making the effort to hold it down should have to work 40 hours a week and still be unable to meet basic needs. And because let’s face it…the less interaction black men have with the police, the better off we all are and, well, marijuana is just the low hanging fruit. Legalize it and that is one less reason our young men will be subjected to police interaction. At least decriminalize it and there’s little reason for hostile police interaction. Write us a ticket and keep it moving. We know that Black folks use marijuana at the same rate as White folks, but of course, we are the target of enforcement. Well, there you go. Can we add the inequality of the entire criminal justice system to the movement? You know the old joke: you go to court looking for justice, and that’s all you find—Just Us.
Can we join with Occupy Wall Street and rise up as the NINETY NINE POINT NINE PERCENT of this country? Just as an aside, I never really understood why that movement was “Occupy Wall Street”. Wall Street did what Congress allowed it to do. Why not go to the source and “Occupy Congress”? But, regardless, you get my point
Intersectionality. It’s just had me thinking lately.
Photo Credit: Thanks to www.opendemocracy.net for the graphic.