Baltimore is not the only city burning but, on Monday night, it was the only city on fire.
The burning in America is a matter of the heart. Young people are angry; older people are afraid. No one knows what to do. There is no leadership. Yes, there are pastors, politicians and community leaders making statements. Some are even trying to help the police department organize.
But, no one. Not one person has offered a viable plan to move forward in managing the anger burning inside so many Black American youth. No. The Black American community.
My generation was told to go to college, get an education and find a job. The generation before me was told to do the same. So many of us have done that only to be met with joblessness, high student loan debt and an American dream so far away the colonization of Mars seems more realistic than even smelling, let alone getting a piece of, the preverbal American Pie.
In order to be successful, you must be breathing. Young men and women are gunned down on a daily basis by police officers who claim that they feared for their lives. Then, the officers’ behaviors are excused because of the dead youth’s past and present behaviors. What happened to arrest, investigation, trial and then punishment for your crime? Does Lady Liberty still not regard us as citizens?
But, I digress. Our cause is not The Boston Tea Party because there is no plan. There is no Samuel Adams with obedient followers who have everything to lose. Remember, The Boston Tea Party was organized in a fight against taxation. These people wanted to prove a point about their unwillingness to use their money to save a fledgling company. Samuel Adams got his friends and supporters together and encouraged them to destroy the tea—just the tea. They didn’t burn the boats. They didn’t harm or threaten the personnel manning the boats. Instead, they dressed as a common enemy (Native Americans) and dumped all of the tea into the harbor. Some accounts even assert that the rioters replaced a lock that was broken. Why? Because they had something to lose. They knew if they broke the law they would lose their land, houses, wives and money.
Black youth have absolutely nothing to lose. They know that every time their hearts beats there is a bullet waiting for them in the guise of fear from a police officer who was hired to protect and serve. Hopelessness is gripping older Black Americans because they can’t protect their young. Every effort they’ve made to improve their lives and their community have been thwarted at every move. It is like our lives have been hacked by the powers that be.
It is time to take a page out of the history books they wrote. What would Samuel Adams do? He would find today’s tea. He would get his people together and destroy it, without destroying his community. He would communicate with them in a way that compelled them to use their anger and outrage for good. Most importantly, he would show them how destroying that tea and nothing else would give them leverage.