Honoring the life and legacy of Brother George Floyd
Ujamaa Men are struggling to face another attack on their manhood, heritage, culture and trauma that was triggered from watching a brother die at the hands of a white police officer. The murder of George Floyd triggered anger, trauma and fear in the lives of men who are often forced face down on the ground with a knee on their neck by a person whose oath is to protect citizens. This is the reason Ujamaa men run from police.
In Episode 9 of “A Black Man’s Sketch,” Ujamaa brother Demontay talks about his historically traumatic relationship with law enforcement with Ujamaa Life Skills coach Kemii and Employment coach Stevenson, in a candid discussion honoring the life and legacy of George Floyd, led by Ujamaa CEO Otis Zanders.
George Floyd was a man of God that loved his family and community. Time is standing still for Ujamaa men as they navigate life and death through COVID-19 (the invisible enemy) and the murder of George Floyd due to RACISM (the visible enemy), while making every attempt to avoid interaction with police. They avoid protesting and any spotlight that triggers emotional trauma, though they are in pain and want Mr. Floyd's family to know they are deeply troubled and sad for their loss. They are not able to unsee the video of the police officer sworn to protect, deny breath to their Black brother, family, uncle and man of God. Ujamaa Men are George Floyd.
Coach Stevenson starts by reciting a segment of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s interview with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes in September 1966 where he eloquently expressed - “A riot is the language of the unheard.”
“Urban riots must now be recognized as durable social phenomena. They are mainly intended to shock the white community. The looting which is their principal feature serves many functions. It enables the most enraged and deprived Negro to take hold of consumer goods with the ease the white man does by using his purse. Often the Negro does not even want what he takes; he wants the experience of taking. But most of all, alienated from society and knowing that this society cherishes property above people, he is shocking it by abusing property rights. A profound judgment of today’s riots was expressed by Victor Hugo a century ago. He said, ‘If a soul is left in the darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.’ The policymakers of the white society have caused the darkness; they create discrimination; they structured slums; and they perpetuate unemployment, ignorance and poverty. When we ask Negroes to abide by the law, let us also demand that the white man abide by law in the ghettos. Day-in and day-out he violates welfare laws to deprive the poor of their meager allotments; he flagrantly violates building codes and regulations; his police make a mockery of law; and he violates laws on equal employment and education and the provisions for civic services. The slums are the handiwork of a vicious system of the white society; Negroes live in them but do not make them any more than a prisoner makes a prison. Let us say boldly that if the violations of law by the white man in the slums over the years were calculated and compared with the law-breaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the white man." --Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., September 1967
Coach Kemii shares his perspective on how our culture processes trauma of the actual incident and everything around it. Ujamaa Place was founded by law enforcement heroes in our community who are center stage in the fight for Justice for George Floyd. They are our community leaders and heroes - Chief John Harrington, Attorney General Keith Ellison and Mayor Melvin Carter, III. They understand the inequality in the Criminal Justice system and created Ujamaa to help men navigate the roadblocks that prevent them from living a quality life.
YouTube: September 27, 1966: MLK—A riot is the language of the unheard