Death isn’t freedom, Justice isn’t an arrest

Death isn’t freedom, Justice isn’t an arrest

 

“His headstone said
FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST
But death is a slave’s freedom
We seek the freedom of free men
And the construction of a world
Where Martin Luther King could have lived and preached nonviolence”

Writing about Dr. King, Nikki Giovanni reflcts on the irony of freedom emanating from death. Yet, so is the logic of white supremacy, a system and ideology that has not only denied African Americans the rights of freedom, but “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Recently, I woke up thinking about this poem because “death isn’t freedom for the enslaved or those free yet shackled by the grips of white supremacy.  For Renisha McBride, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and countless others, death has not resulted in “freedom.” Freedom from the grips of white supremacy has not happen in death; no period of mourning or “don’t speak ill of the dead” has been afforded to the,  From drug tests to criminalization, from media demonization to the hurling of the same stereotypes that resulted in their deaths, racism traveled with them.  dream Hampton spotlights this when she talks about a system and society that is “‘criminalizing Black Corpses’.”  Death is not a “slave’s freedom”

Her headstone says
Still not yet free

For death is not freedom for the enslaved

For death is not freedom for the criminalized, for people of color living in American Apartheid

Yet, we fight for freedom and justice for all women and men
And the construction of a world
Where Renisha McBride, and Johanthan Ferrell could have sought help without being pushed through death’s door

Yet we imagine a world where justice is not defined as Shana Redmond notes through “handcuffs and cages”

Yet we fight for a world where justice isn’t placed in the hands of another arrest of George Zimmerman or the ultimate charging of Theodore Paul Wafer

Yet we imagine a world where justice does not resemble as @prisoncultture brilliantly describes as “purgatory — suspended between heaven and hell”

Yet we imagine a world where safety isn’t an axiom for more police and prisons but freedom from prisons, from police, from violence, and from guns

From poverty, from state violence, and from American exceptionalism

Until then, freedom will remain a dream deferred

Justice will continue to remain illusive

Dreams will fill our hearts, nourish our activist souls and be our oxygen

As we fight against white supremacist violence

And the construction of a world

Where Trayvon can walk freely, where Jordan can listen to his music, where Marissa can defend herself, and where the living & the dead are treated with humanity and dignity

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s