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Black Lives Matter

A cold chill went over the nation on November 5th as we received the results of the dreaded mid-term elections. The incessant barrage of political ads have stopped and left over campaign signs are stuffed in recycle bins. This was more than a Democratic shellacking; it was the consolidation of states’ rights around a white supremacist ideology and strategy.

Last Tuesday, history was made in two different ways. Nearly $4 billion dollars were spent on the midterms. Republicans also made historic gains in the nation’s state legislatures. The GOP now controls the highest number in the history of the party--68 out of 98 state legislative bodies. Republicans currently hold the governorship and both houses of the legislature in 23 states; Democrats control only seven. The Southern confederacy has moved north and west.

A visual of the post-election map of Republican-controlled legislatures is downright scary. You witness a sea of red -- symbolic of the political, economic and social bloodshed that we can expect over the next several years. There will also be real human collateral damage.

We can expect an emboldened GOP to aggressively move their agenda in more spaces and places. Republicans would love to take the country back to the 20th Century, well before blacks and women’s had equal rights. To a time when white patriarchy reigned supreme.

The 2014 election was more than a Democratic shellacking; it was the consolidation of states’ rights around a white supremacist ideology and strategy.

The conservative momentum has been steamrolling over voting and reproductive rights, depriving the working poor of health care, destroying social service safety nets, undermining agencies that protect the environment and consumers and dis-investing in all that’s urban including public education, infrastructure and jobs.

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When the bones of racial profiling, police terrorism and an unfair justice system were fully unearthed in Ferguson, MO after the police murder of Mike Brown, it clearly illuminated what Bill Fletcher, Jr. calls the “continuation of the lynching 'movement' to which African Americans have been subjected since the days of slavery.”

Various recorded data supports this claim. In its 2012 report on extrajudicial killings, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement asserted that says a black person is killed every 36 hours.

FBI data shows that black people are three times more likely than white people to be killed when they encounter the police in the US. That’s about two deaths a week, and this is based upon the woefully under-reporting by police departments of black deaths at the hands of cops.

The system where white people can be the judge, jury and executioner is not ancient history. Ask the loved ones of Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Jordan Davis and a host of others whose identities and circumstances are forever being replaced by new, black bodies.

As the St. Louis metropolitan area braces for the grand jury announcement in the Mike Brown case, it is likely that we’ll witness a national response should Darren Wilson not be indicted. This is because there is a growing collective consciousness that police and state-sanctioned terrorism is unabated in our communities, that all African Americans have been criminalized regardless of our economic and social station in life. We must work for a real strategic and sustained response that makes real the slogan, “Black lives matter” because it does.

jamala rogers

Jamala Rogers