Louisville, KY January 21, 2018
James Baldwin once said, “Artists are here to disturb the peace.” So, today, I am just doing my job. I do not stand here to entertain you. Every time that I stand at a microphone I am speaking to shake this nation from its slumber. Consider these words the alarm.
We are at a critical point in this nation so, on this day, let’s not pretend. Reality is what reality is, and the reality is 53% of White women that voted in the presidential election voted for a man that boasted about grabbing women by their genitalia. And even after all that we have been through 65% of White women that voted in the Alabama Election voted for a man that is a known racist and alleged pedophile. Today is not a day for celebration but of self-examination. Let me be transparent and honest because in 2018 #TimesUp for sugarcoating and whitewashing the truth.
And I decided, I have NO OTHER OPTION but to SPEAK THE TRUTH and ASK MY QUESTIONS that I asked months ago and allow the chips to fall where they may.
Where were you?
Where were you when we screamed for your husbands to stop raping us?
Where were you when Recy Taylor was begging for justice?
Where were you when Anita Hill was vilified for speaking up against sexual harassment?
Where were you when a former officer raped Black women?
Where were you when we buried our sons and daughters?
Where were you when Dajerria Becton had a knee on her back and was assaulted by an officer?
Where were you when a young Black girl was thrown across a classroom?
Where were you when Alesia Thomas uttered, “I Can’t Breathe,” after getting kicked in the throat and groin in the back of a patrol car in 2012 before it became a slogan?
Where were you when Jaquarrius, Ciara, Jojo, Keke Mesha Caldwell, Jamie Lee, and Chyna were murdered?
Where were you when we marched and shouted for Sandra, Rekia, and Aiyana?
Where were you when we demanded that Black women MATTERED in this fight against police brutality?
Where were you when this nation sterilized Black, Native American and Puerto Rican women without their consent?
Where were you when we were screaming? Your silence was deafeningly loud.
I could not stand here in good conscience in a pink pussycat hat and break my arm off to pat myself and others on the back when right now in this nation people who have lived in this country for decades are being ripped apart from their families
Right now, the President calls countries in Africa, Haiti and El Salvador shitholes
Right now, a man is in office that brags and boasts about sexually assaulting women
Right now, OUR senator is using the healthcare of children as a bargaining chip
Right now, OUR senator refuses to have the courage to call a man that has been hateful, divisive a racist
Right now, laws are being written to allow doctors the freedom to discriminate against transgender individuals
Right now this year 4 Black lesbians have been murdered!
Right now, a White man can kill 58 people and injure 851 people, and it’s a blip on the TV screen
Right now, the reproductive rights of women are once again being challenged.
Here in Kentucky a former police officer of 20 years tells a recruit to shoot Black people
Right now, we have a governor that believes the cure for violence is praying it away all while instituting policies that seek to divide this state
Right now, here in Kentucky there is a proposed law for it to be legal to drive over citizens that are practicing their God-given right to protest all because they didn’t have a permit
Right now, a bill is in the Kentucky Senate to allow private businesses and public institutions the right to discriminate against people if they don’t align with their beliefs.
And now this swell of Women’s Liberation has brought light to the Me Too Movement- a movement started by a Black woman named Tarana Burke yet commandeered by the masses. So today I stand with Ms. Burke and flip this hashtag and say #YouToo
Because it was all good as long as it was not #YouToo
It was okay for Black women to be raped by a police officer because it was not #YouToo
It was okay as long as it was Indigenous women that were being raped and assaulted on their land with no recourse for justice until you realized it was happening to #YouToo
It was okay for Black and Brown workers to be paid less because it was not #YouToo
It was alright for Tamir Rice to be killed on a playground because it was not #YouToo
It was just fine when it wasn’t your reproductive rights because it wasn’t #YouToo
It was just fine when Sandra Bland was dead on a jailhouse floor because it wasn’t #YouToo
It was all good when it was just their jobs that were going to be lost until you realized it meant #YouToo
It was all good that Trump was taking “their” healthcare because it was not #YouToo
NOW YOU SEE! TAKE OFF YOUR ROSE COLORED GLASSES! LOOK AROUND YOU! THE PLANE IS ON FIRE! AND THAT MEANS YOU TOO!
WE CANNOT SHOUT THIS ANY LOUDER!
WE HAVE DONE OUR PART!
MY SISTERS ARE TIRED!
THE ARC OF JUSTICE IS CARVED INTO THE BACKS OF BLACK AND BROWN BODIES! AND TODAY IS THE DAY FOR YOU TO TAKE A STAND! WHEN YOU HEAR THE BELLS OF INJUSTICE RINGING, DO NOT ASK FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS? THE BELL IS TOLLING FOR YOU!
Featured Photo: Lucie Witt
Video: Greg Leitchty/Youtube