by DaQuawn Bruce
Being “woke” once symbolized one’s awareness of the historical and present injustices faced by an individual or group in the pursuit of their advancement or being. It meant that the blinders of matters of racism and systems of oppression were removed so that one could fully awaken to the reality that racism exists. It is a continual and daily acknowledgement of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
I am a young, 26-year-old black man in America. I have seen true racism, and the racist carnage in Buffalo, Charleston, Houston, and other cities across our country, and it has stirred in me and in many others a desire to see justice served.
Yet, we as a society turn a blind eye to the daily carnage in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and my hometown of Chicago. In the era of Black Lives Matter and “woke” capitalism, crime and income disparities continue to rise, especially in more urban and minority dominated areas. Twenty weeks into 2022 and homicide rates have risen more than 17% compared to the last four years.
Where are concerned corporations and the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation now that the communities they have profited from over the past two years are in dire need of their actual support? Where are the multi-million-dollar campaigns to call out racism in the forms of radicalization, or indifference? Where is the movement to hold political leaders accountable who turn a blind eye to the suffering and degradation of our community?
I am not naïve, nor blinded to reality: The carnage of crime is not only based in racism, as black-on-black crime continues to be a horrific problem in our society. Four years ago, a young black man shot me near my home on the south side of Chicago. I was not the target of the violence, and 12 weeks later my cousin was killed by the same young men. And a board member of our organization, Pastor Marc Little of Los Angeles, was also shot years ago by a gang member, lost his right leg, and now limps along with a prosthesis, although stronger than ever in his faith and resolve to help his brothers and sisters of color, and our country.
Over the past two months, my organization has tried to bring attention to the angst in the black community regarding the grift that is the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. These self-enriching, avowed Marxist leaders fooled the world and many large corporations into believing they were going to change things, yet in the wake of their deception our communities are now even less safe. These corporations have blindly supported this radical group that has demeaned and called for the defunding of our women and men in blue. Just days ago in Buffalo, it was a retired black policeman who gave his life to stop a racist, white supremacist maniac.
As we demand justice be served for the blatant, egregious, senseless acts of violence by a racist in Buffalo, let us also demand justice and accountability from leaders and corporations who have exploited the pain and predicament of the black community for their own gain, or to virtue signal.
If we are going to be “woke” then we all must wake up to the reality that racism is not dead. Charlottesville, Charleston, Buffalo, and so many other instances have shown us this fact. Instead, we must come together as children of God despite our differences and demand that is not okay, and that this is not the America most of us, regardless of skin color, want for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren.
We must demand better from our leaders, corporations, and fellow citizens. We have had enough of policies, political rhetoric, corporate pandering, and alternative facts that seek to divide us.
Now more than ever, we need leadership in action. No more empty words and platitudes while our communities and families suffer.
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DaQuawn Bruce is the executive director of Concerned Communities for America, a 501(c)3 advocacy group.