“Why, it’s mighty fine of you Guvanah Bevins to come down here to this here colored part of the city. Where did my manners go? Let me remove my cap. Like I’s was sayin’. We’s so glad you came down to our neck of the woods and you even got people to bring those fancy cameras. Guess we’s gonna be on the news! Look momma I’m on TV.
We’s just so thankful that you and your friends came down here and don’t mind us, we’s good colored folks. We’s just gonna sit right in the back while you and ya friends sit up front. Anyways, Guvanah, we’s so thankful you are here! Lord knows we’s aint seent ya in these here parts in a mighty long time. Must be real busy up there in that there Frankfort. Where ya’ll makin’ all da laws to get us here colored folk right.
I see you brought your gal with you. Always nice to see one of us with the Guvanah. We sho do appreciat’ ya comin’ up with this here plan to get us colored folks togetha. Why I don’t know why us silly old country, backwoods preachers neva thought about askin’ these colored folks to pray. That’s what da Good Book says. And dats what we’s gonna do. Guvanah, we’s gonna march around this here community like it’s Jericho! You hear me?! I said we’s gonna march around this here community like it’s Jericho! And you’s right, Guvanah. We’s ain’t gonna sing no songs. Lawd no! We’s ain’t gonna shout. Lawd no! We sho ain’t gonna wear no shirts with no slogans. We ain’t gonna carry no signs. And I done told that boy to put up his bullhorn. Oh no, Guvanah! Won’t be no bullhorns. We’s just gonna come outside, when ya’ll tell us we can come outside, and we’s gonna march and just pray in silence. Gonna zip our big lips and get to walkin’. Might walk so much we end up North!
We’s so happy you came up with this here plan to stop these Negros from pulling out they pistols on one another. I done tried to tell these Negros a million times but dey just hard headed Guvanah. Dey hard headed. Head as hard as des broken sidewalks ya’ll aint fixed. We’s just so thankful Guvanah, that you thought of us in that big, old fancy house we’s been seeing on da news. And here you are in da flesh! Praise Gawd! Our Savior done arrived!”
Perhaps that is how Governor Bevin thought the conversation would go when G
od spoke to him from a burning bush, he decided to hold a “conversation” in Louisville, Kentucky with local Senior Pastors and/or a church representative to address the ongoing violence in Louisville. (Let me preface this blog by saying, I resigned from a church where I worked for 16 years, so I understand church, church politics and politics that intermingle with the church like the back of my hand. I have been saved since I was 12 years old and I believe in the power of prayer and the power of God.) Having said that, as soon as I heard his call out for Senior Pastors the first thing I thought was, “What a complete and utter waste of time.” If Bevin really wanted to have a true conversation about the violence that is rocking the city of Louisville, I wondered why he would not start with people that are actually in the trenches, doing the work? While that may include Senior Pastors, it is certainly not exclusive to Senior Pastors. That would be mistake number two.
Mistake number one was foolishly presuming that HE, D
onald Trump Squared, Bevin, had a plan that was going to “fix” the Black community. As if the Black people in Louisville flashed a light in the sky and asked for Bevin to come to our rescue. Bevin in his naivety believed he could mount up his white horse and gallop down Broadway, West of 9th Street, with a plan that would fix the ills of the West End and primarily fix the ills of the Black community. Bevin’s actions are typical of having a White Savior Complex Mentality. We never asked for a White Savior. We never needed a White Savior and we certainly never needed Bevin to come into the West End with his ill-conceived, moronic and condescending plan to get the Negros in line.
Mistake number 3 was going online with the announcement of a “plan” without saying what the plan entailed. Did Bevin discuss this “plan” with anyone in the Black community? If this “plan” was so marvelous and would reduce homicides in Louisville, why keep the “plan” a secret? Why not fully announce the “plan”? Over the course of the last few months we have been subjected to a “leader” that always has a “huge plan that is going to be great”, yet we never see the plan. Why didn’t Bevin discuss the “plan” with community activists, business owners and residents? It appeared as if Bevin had a great plan to reduce violence that he was holding on to until his schedule was clear enough and the holiday weekend bourbons were consumed to announce this great “plan”. Meanwhile, Black people in Louisville were still dying.
Mistake number 4 is treating Black people in Louisville like we are the problem. While redlining and city planning may have divided up the city like momma’s sweet potato pie, what happens in the West End affects everyone in the city of Louisville and beyond. We are inescapably intertwined. Let’s not pretend as if White people are not dying from heroin and pain killer overdoses every day in Louisville along with a multitude of other ‘we-can-conceal-them-because-we-are-White’ problems.
While Bevin may believe he must get us Negros in line, he fails to recognize the undercurrent of racism that is prevalent in Kentucky. Not just Louisville. But Kentucky. He needs to acknowledge that paddle boats ain’t the only thing that flowed down the Ohio River. Kentucky has a history of slavery that it wants to hide with horses, bluegrass, and bourbon but the stench of your sin still lingers. We have not forgotten. We will never forget. And if you want to deal with violence in Kentucky truly, I suggest you, Guvanah Bevins, take a long, hard look in the mirror. This is what you inherited when you decided you wanted to be Guvanah of Kentucky. I suggest you look at your friends that you golf, sip mint juleps and hobnob with. I advise you to ask them about the 9th Street divide. Ask them what would we find if we shake their family trees? Ask Meade County, where a Confederate statue was relocated, about a slave named Lucy, that was hung for killing her White slave master and rapist. Go to Lexington the capital of the Kentucky Slave Trade, where thousands of children were separated from their parents. Men and women that were sold and shipped “down the river”.
You want to understand being Black in Kentucky? Start there and work your way through Kentucky history and then come back and humble yourself before you stand before us in your suit and tie and kumbayah entertainment. Start talking about a plan to fix wrongs that your people committed and NEVER righted. Start talking about funding and policy changes to make right the wrong your people committed against Black humanity. The seeds were planted in Kentucky years ago, and it is all entangled in the roots of the bluegrass.
We will no longer be hidden. And oh no, Guvanah Bevins, we will no longer remain silent. The revolution will not be met in shadows and whispers. In the spirit of our ancestors, we come with songs and shouting! Since you want to cherry pick scripture, let me pick some out for you today. We will not be silenced. We are called to fight for liberation like Esther because perhaps we are here for such a time as this! And we will not stop, we will not be moved. We stand like Amos, shouting for freedom, until justice rolls on like a river and righteousness like a mighty stream!