Just Thinking Aloud About Sandra Bland

sandrabland2

“We know the road to freedom has always been stalked by death.” – Angela Davis

 

     Yesterday, Sandra Bland was laid to rest. Another Black body was laid to rest. Another Black body was murdered. Another Black body that leaves me full of questions that I want answers to. What happened? Why is it that Sandra Bland was in jail alive one minute, and the next minute she was dead?

So many heartbreaking questions fill my head.

Why can’t we just BE?

     The list of things that Black folks can’t do is getting longer, with every Black body laid to rest. This list sends a message that Black folks are supposed to bow down to white supremacy and stay in our so-called place, like we’re living in the days of the master oppressing the slave. Fuck that shit! Just walking down the street seems to send a signal of, “I’m a threat.” My, no, our, articulate, intelligent, and wonderful  selves are threatening to some folks. Our Black bodies just standing still are threatening to some folks. What it seems that we can’t do is show our intelligence, our assertiveness, and our independence (thank God we do it anyway). And after Sandra Bland rightfully showed hers, she is no longer here. It makes me wonder how long will I be here? And who will be next?

So many heartbreaking questions fill my head.

Why did Sandra Bland have to die?

     I was born and raised in America (wait…Amerikkka), and I feel like I have no home. I never really feel at home. Never really feel at ease. Never really know when white supremacy will take my last breath, like it took Sandra Bland’s. And as her death is being investigated by those of “The Law”, I wonder how many of them wear a white sheet when they go home at the end of the day? It’s going to be a long road to justice, equality, and freedom.

     I don’t have time to have an ounce of fear, as there’s work to do. You better believe I will continue traveling down that long road towards justice, equality, and freedom. I don’t have time for doubt either. But I have plenty of time to have faith and hope. I have plenty of time to have strength and courage. I’ll need all four, as I do what I must in 0rder to survive. But I can’t stop at survival. I have to do what I must to be able to live FREELY. I am not an animal to be hunted. We are not animals to be killed for sport. I must do all that I can to make sure that it is understood that BLACK LIVES DO MATTER (#BlackLivesMatter) . MY life matters. Sandra Bland’s life  STILL matters. I owe Sandra Bland my all and my best.

     Sandra Bland may be physically gone, but her strength, courage, and shining light will certainly live on.

 

“I think the importance of doing activist work is precisely because it allows you to give back and to consider yourself not as a single indivisual who may have achieved whatever, but to be a part of an ongoing historical movement.”  – Angela Davis

© 2015  samaramarie.com  All Rights Reserved

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I Can’t Help But Wonder. Will I Be The Next Victim?

     Earlier today, I saw a blog post regarding the tragic, but all too familiar event of another victim murdered by the hands of racial injustice. Her name was Sandra Bland. I left a response to this blog post stating that it seems like Black men and women are being hunted and murdered, as if hunting and murdering people is a sport. I made a promise that I’ll do everything that I can to help bring about justice, equlaity, and freedom in this unjust world that we live in.

     As the list of Black bodies that didn’t matter gets a little longer each month (along with the growing list of activities that Black people apparently can not do), let us say a prayer for them all, and let us say a prayer for all of us. Now is the time to act. It’s been time. It’s always time. Now is the time to act, and bring about the change that we want to see. My name is Samara Marie Douglas, but I am Sandra Bland. Being Black in America proves to be complex, as well as dangerous. And as I sit here and write these words, I can’t help but to wonder will I be the next victim?

     I’ve been an elementary educator for 20 years now, and incorporating weekly classroom community meetings into my day has proven to be an effective practice for me to get kids started on the road towards fighting for justice, equality, and freedom. Our classroom community is a safe haven for my students to express their innermost thoughts. It’s a space for them to express what they don’t understand about our world. It’s a space for them to ask questions about what they don’t understand, and to get answers. Our classroom community meetings give my students a chance to be heard and to be listened to. Our meetings help students understand that their voices are powerful. The power in their voices can fuel a fire to fight inequality and other ills of society, even at their young age. It’s never too early to start a crusade for change.

     In our classroom community meetings, students have the opportunity to learn about the world in which we live, and to understand where they fit within our world. With this, comes knowledge of self and self confidence, which is needed to help them internalize that their lives do matter. Their words matter. This is their world too. During our meetings, students have the opportunity to brainstorm ways that they can make a difference in our world, starting now. It is my hope that my students remeber what they learn in our weekly meetings, and transfer these ideas out into the real world one day.

     My hope is for my studentsto be the next Freedom Fighters. We’ve been traveling on a long road towards our rights of freedom, justice, and equality. It seems to be an infinite road with an uncertain end point. All we can do is put in work to get there and have faith. Someone has to continue this fight when we can no longer. The fight for these 3 deserved rights must go on. The fight for freedom, justice, and equality must go on for Sandra Bland and all of the other Black lives that didn’t matter.

     I dedicate this post to my 5th graders who just graduated, and are now moving on to middle school. As I said at graduation, I’m very proud of all of you. I believe in all of you. I love you all. You were the best 5th graders ever. May you continue on your journey to be the best that you can be.

© 2015   samaramarie.com   All Rights Reserved

 

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Where’s the Love on a Lovely Day?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Brooklyn

“True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. No strings attached. No expectations. Time and love are the most valuable possessions you can share.” – Suze Orman

Being a lover of all things Harlem, I didn’t think I’d ever utter the words, “I love Prospect Park.” Each time I go there, I get lost, and I enjoy every minute of it. Prospect Park is so beautiful, so peaceful, and you can feel a genuine love as soon as you enter the park.

Today was a beautiful day. I took my usual stroll around the lake, taking in all things beautiful, and enjoying the magnetic energy from everyone I encountered. I would up at my now usual resting place that gives me an up close and personal view of the water. With all of the beautiful scenery, peace, and genuine love, it was at this resting place where I had questions about love.

Whenever I sit on a bench by the lake, I always see families enjoying this same view, and enjoying it together. The key word is together. I see moms, dads, and their children spending quality time together. I see moms and their children spending quality time together. I see dads and their children spending quality time together. I even see entire families including the grandparents, spending quality time together. And then I saw a family that seemed very much broken. Where’s the love on a lovely day?

Walking towards where I was sitting was a married couple and their 2 year old son. There were swans in the lake, and their son wanted to get a closer look. Only the mother and son went to the edge of the lake to see the swans. What did the father do? He sat on the bench next to me, and complained about having to be in the park all day. Even upon the mother’s multiple requests to join her and their son, the father flat out refused, with such a nasty attitude. To make matters worse, at some point upon the 2 of them having a “long distance conversation,” the father shouted, “You’d better pray you don’t get pregnant again.” The mother looked frustrated. The mother and their son were still by the lake, and the father was still on the bench next to me, but now he’s striking up a conversation with me. He apologized for his son being noisy and unruly. I told him that no apology was needed, and that I work with kids. They get noisy when  they’re excited. No problem. I felt awkward and a little disgusted at the same time, and the mother was looking at the both of us. Why is this man distancing himeslf from his partner and child? And why would he prefer to have an up close conversation with me?

The mother came over to the bench and pretty much forced their son on the father, and she sat down. Instead of spending quality time with their son at the edge of the lake, he decides to take out his phone and make a call to someone. I’m watching this father hold his son’s hand while standing a step away from where he was originally sitting. A few minutes into the phone conversation, and the father yells, ” I have to call you back. This kid is acting bananas.” This kid? This kid was acting like a 2 year old who wants to play, explore, and be payed attention to by his father.

The mother gtets up from the bench and intervenes by mentioning that she and their son wanted to find out where the drumming was coming from. The father shot her down again and said, “I’m not going way over there just so he can hear some drums.” I was glad when they finally left.

I thought about the difference bewteen this family and the families that I always see around the lake. The families that I always see around the lake are happy. They spend quality time together. They act like they truly love each other. I can feel their love for one another. This family that I encountered today wasn’t full of love. The father gave off a vibe of dissatisfaction with his partner and child, and the mother seemed frustrated and helpless. I was left feeling sorry for the mother and the child.

I believe time and love are the best gifts that one can give and receive. As I grew up without really receiving both of these things on a consistent basis, I truly believe this. I didn’t see the father giving time nor love to his partner nor his child. I’m not saying that he never does. I don’t know if he does or not. I just didn’t see it on this particular day. All I could think about was this: There’s a man somewhere that would love to be by their side. Here’s my question. Is finding a compatible partner so hard, that we have to settle for being in an unloving, unhealthy relationship? Here’s another question. Is the fear of being alone or lonely the one to blame for people settling? Love is complex, and I really don’t know the answers. I’ll tell you what I do know. I know that I deserve to be loved, and I don’t want to settle for anything less than that.

© 2015  samaramarie.com  All Rights Reserved

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Pharoah Sanders

This is one of my favorite songs by Pharoah Sanders titled, “Hum Allah Hum Allah Hum Allah,” from his album, “Jewels of Thought.”

https://youtu.be/IwKbI2Y7lCc

 Video Uploaded To You Tube By neko gaku On August 3, 2014

© 2015 samaramarie.com All Rights Reserved

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I Have No Love Song To Sing

” I Have No Love Song To Sing”

I have no love song to sing.
No sweet soliloquy to recite
Underneath the stars.
I’m sick with a disease that has no cure.
My heart barely beats,
As the confusion of what justice is
Proves to be a consistent strain.
I feel as if a single bullet aimed for my heart, 
And pierced it multiple times. 
A single body is housing multiple deaths and heartache.
As I drew my last breath,
I whispered a little prayer to God
And ascended upon Heaven’s path.
I have no love song to sing tonight.
Only a puddle full of tears and blood.

Copyright 2015 samaramarie.com All Rights Reserved 

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Rise Up

When Enough Is Enough: While attempting to exist and navigate through an unjust system that is unclear as to what justice is, what the fuck are we supposed to do upon being hunted, but revolt?

Copyright 2015 samaramarie.com All Rights Reserved

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Longform: The Hunting of Billie Holiday

SamaraMarie:

Jeff Nguyen, thank you for posting this!

Originally posted on Deconstructing Myths:

From his first day in office in 1930, Harry Anslinger had a problem, and everybody knew it. He had just been appointed head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics—a tiny agency, buried in the gray bowels of the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C.—and it seemed to be on the brink of being abolished. This was the old Department of Prohibition, but prohibition had been abolished and his men needed a new role, fast. As he looked over his new staff—just…

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