Guest Blog Post: Amaya Isabel

Amaya Isabel is an activist living in Macomb who believes Black Lives Matter and wants to address systemic racism.

I would like to start by dedicating this post to my people. This is for all the people who can’t read this post because their freedom and lives have been stolen from them. This is dedicated to all my people sitting in jails and prisons because the police state decided to steal their freedom to generate profit. This is for immigrants and refugees sitting in ICE detention centers only because they have been declared “illegal” on stolen land. This is for black womxn, for black people with disabilities, and for the black LGBT+ and Afro Latinx community that are all too often left out of the conversation on justice. This is for everyone who has been brutalized and murdered at the hands of police and vigilantes. I am here to use my privilege of freedom and education to write when others cannot because they have been silenced by systems of racism in Amerikkka.

I would like to ask you all to join me in a moment of silence to honor those who have lost their lives to violent systems of white supremacy. During this moment of silence, please reflect on the lives lost and the work that needs to be done to ensure not one more life is taken.  Thank you.

I would like to share with you all a piece of Martin Luther King Jr’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. King wrote this letter while sitting in a jail cell when he was arrested for taking direct action against white supremacy. I want to share this letter because King believed it was our responsibility to stand up to unjust laws and systems.

In the words of Martin Luther King Jr, “First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the Ku Klux Klan, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;” who feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.”

Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

I share this piece because much of Martin Luther King Jr’s work has been whitewashed over the years, and I believe it’s important to keep his true thoughts and feelings alive. I am not interested in maintaining a negative peace- the absence of tension. Maintaining a negative peace only works to uphold the status quo, and the status quo is killing us. I am interested in making a change. I am interested in creating a positive peace- the presence of justice.

When we say No Justice- No Peace, it’s not just a trendy chant. It’s our reality. We say it because we’ve experienced it. We say it because our ancestors have lived it. We have seen No Justice and No Peace from Amerikkka. There is No Peace for our community when we’re being targeted, beaten, and shot by police. There is No Justice for our community when the legal system steals our freedom and refuses to hold officers accountable for their brutality.

Please don’t let Black Lives Matter become a trend. Black Lives Matter every single day, not just when the movement is trending on social media and in the news. Protests help to spread awareness and gain support from the community, but the work does not stop here. We must use this traction to move forward. I am working with local activists and organizers to develop an Action Plan to address systemic racism. This plan will detail direct action that can be taken to end this system of injustice. If you or anyone you know would like to be a part of creating positive peace, please reach out to me.

In closing, I would like to leave you with the words of Angela Davis, an American political activist. “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”

Thank you. 

#BlackLivesMatter #BlackInMacomb #WhiteSilenceIsViolence

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