Truth be told, I think I came into the world with my fist clinched, shouting “Black Power.” My date of birth was April 5, 1968, literally the day after the assai nation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was this act of violence that pushed my mom into labor and being born in a city miles away due to an enforced curfew after the shooting probably help to shape my mind about the struggle of equality. Then there are my parents who taught me to be proud of who I am and what it meant to be black in America and I’m forever grateful. My skin tone has always been extremely light and my entire life, my nickname was/is “white gal.” Looking at my family, it was easy to spot me. There were times when people didn’t believe my mother was my mother due to our skin tones. She was a beautiful dark sister and when that would happen, often I felt hurt and mad. I mean that’s MY momma, to me we looked just alike. However, I remember wanting to be darker because I hated the way people made it seem that we were two totally different looking people based on our skin tones because the face was really the same! Nevertheless, passive, remaining silent has never been my style!
I was driving in the car and contemplating on beginning the T-Shirt business. I put a statement out on Facebook one (which incidentally I can’t remember for the life of me), and one of my friends said, I need this on a T-shirt. Confirmation! I had designs, pictures that had been saved for this purpose. I have no clue what I had been waiting on to do it. In the car, I thought about the stance, Kapernick, took and what it meant not just to him but what it represents to us all, as black people in America.
We’ve all recited the pledge of Allegiance and the words speak volume unless you find yourself on the other side of the justice that you have declared your allegiance. Not just you, but people who look like you. Justice is not perfect for everyone but consistently we have seen that the justice system in America is actively against Black people. We’ve watched injustices, marched, protest and not just recently but for years. So when Collin Kapernick, used his name, fame and position to take a knee during the singing of the National Anthem, the black-lash and outrage from fans that he received and encountered was both unfair and alarming to me. IT REALLY TICKED ME OFF! I felt he used his platform respectively and responsibly.
With him in mind, driving in the car, I thought about the words to the pledge of allegiance and the ending struct me……………..”indivisible with liberty and justice for all”? Really? We know that not to be the case. The majority of inmates (those who were blessed enough to live to stand trial are Black American Men, an overwhelming number of those black men are innocent, let’s not mention the sentencing variations that ensure our black men do hard time for years and even life over crimes that others would only receive minimum sentencing or even probation. This cycle of policing ensures that there are more black boys growing up without fathers around and that the cycle of making money on us will continue. In addition, bring on private prisons that gain free labor and continue what really could be known as “slavery.” This is the America that far too many of know and experience! Our communities have yet to see, consistently “justice for all”!
So the singing of the National Anthem is even about an America most do not know. The words imply that we are united and the home of the brave but too often, our men and women have fought and been treated every way BUT EQUAL. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say home of the fearful, home of those supported, as long as, you do, behave in manners that make the majority happy, secure or as they desire, whatever that may mean at any time?
Protesting is the foundation on which the country we call “America”, the great melting pot was built! Yet repeatedly protest for Civil Rights for Black Americans is punished physically through violence, socially and financially through ostracism and poor portrayal on social media and media in general. Demonstrations by Black Americans are labeled as riots or radical movements while the KKK marches and it’s called peaceful protest. Watching this Pro NFL player take hits or fines for his belief and to silently but strongly protest was absolutely beautiful! Indeed, he demonstrated courage and tenacity as well as one who will put their money where their mouth is.
I created this T-Shirt in honor of his sacrifice and simply because I believe in what he did and his right to protest peaceful and labeled being disrespectful, rude or unpatriotic. Like I said when I thought about the “allegiance to this flag” the words said, I was highly motivated to continue making the statement. Lots of people have viewed this shirt and THEY LOVE IT, but you would be surprised as to how many will not buy it because they are afraid to wear it. Yes in 2017, the age of freedom, the age of saying whatever, the age of social media journalist and freedom speakers; yet people are afraid to wear a shirt that vocalizes their belief.
And so it begins……………………………………..Are we being scared into silence?
TAKING STANDS WILL COST, HOW MUCH ARE YOU WILLING TO PAY?
Kimberly Davis, OUTSPOKEN FOR LIFE
“Punish me for my words, because I will not die cowardly silent” Kimberly Guy Davis
My next T-Shirt and yep that quote, me!