At times it really can all get to be too much some times. Over here we have a young African American by the name of Kalief Browder who committed suicide after behind held for three years on Rikers Island without behind convicted of a crime.
And over there, the one video that actually made me sick was of a Texas police officer throwing teens onto the ground and holding a young teen in a bikini down with her face down in the dirt. What was she, all of 100 pounds to his 200+?
The last time I was physically nauseous from watching a video was when I sat in awe watching the sheriff of Birmingham Alabama, Bull Connors, as he set police dogs and fire hoses on men, women and children who were simply marching in a peaceful march for equal rights.
That was more than 50 years ago. It was a time when my parent’s friends piled into buses and rode trains into the South to get rocks and worse hurled at them as they protested. My God Mother actually bears the scar from such a rock to this day, and she still laughed “All I could think of was ‘Thank God they don’t know I’m Jewish…”
Part of me is so sickened by how we are so quickly slipping back to where we were 50 years ago, that I have begun to doubt that we actually made any progress at all. At times I want to turn the Internet off and return to a state of naively blissful ignorance.
But we all know that is not the right course of action.
No, unfortunately that would only perpetuate the injustices that America is getting to be known for. Injustices that are toppling us from being a beacon of hope and opportunity around the world, to reflecting the lowest common denominator that is not ashamed to get their 15 minutes of fame however they are able.
From the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy, we have fallen. We are no longer leading the space race. We are no longer curing the causes of cancer. Instead we are running after the false Gods of money, creating cures for illnesses we created as we turn our back on the societal illnesses that are all around us.
When a well known Buddhist tells a story of accidently dropping a fifty dollar bill into the hands of a homeless person, and then taking it back to give the man a one dollar bill instead, I know the illness of our society is reaching a new low, or perhaps we have already reached it.
So here is a challenge for everyone out there. It has nothing to do with meditating for 21 days or giving up petroleum products. It is not about selling your car and buying a bike. There are no 10 day retreats to run off to. It is simply this.
DO SOMETHING. DO ANYTHING.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND MAKE IT COUNT.
STAND UP AND BE COUNTED IN SOME WAY.
No matter what your issue is, I have included a list of people to contact. At this point all you have to do is pick and click. The difference you make could be the life of a teen at a pool party, or in time, could be your own.
- POLICE VIOLENCE: Write a letter to the governor of Texas to complain about the treatment of teens at a pool party. Acknowledge that yes, some may have jumped over the turnstile at a city pool, but that is no reason for a white PEACE officer of THE LAW to do what he did!
- INSTITUTIONAL INJUSTICE: Write a letter to the Mayor of New York and refuse to spend your vacation money in the five boroughs if he does not do something about Riker’s Island, NOW!
- PRESIDENTIAL RACE: Send an email to the Presidential Candidates and let them know you will not vote for them unless they speak out on X, Y, or Z issue!
- BE NICE: Hold the door for someone for no reason at all.
- SMILE: Smile and say please and thank you today and every day.
- LGBT: Call the editor of your local newspaper and tell them you want to see more coverage of the LGBT issue, and no, showing how sexy Bruce Jenner has become is not it!
- GUNS & NRA: Send an email to all of the above that says if it is fair to ID a person to the USA from voter fraud, then it is good enough to protect us from guns.
- POLICE KILLINGS: Let your mayor know that if the police can kill 464 people in just the first five months of 2015, then they are no longer public SERVANTS, and yes they can start wearing body cameras.
No, I am not so naive to think that any of these things will really do anything. But maybe, just maybe, if we all start making small changes in the way we watch over each other, and watch over our own actions, we can bring back a little bit of the energy that started the Great Experiment that was the United States before it fails miserably in a ball of fire and smoke and ash.
If your excuse for not taking action is that you are not sure who to contact, please see the links below.
Members of the 114th Congress [phone, email, postal addresses – House & Senate] http://www.contactingthecongress.org/
Governors’ Office Addresses [By State]
Presidential Candidates [By Name]