Today is February 28th, 2021 – the final day of Black History Month – and Donald Trump is nowhere to be found, banished from the public eye and the dark realms of the internet.
Joe Biden sits in the Oval Office, accompanied by the first Black woman Vice President in American history, Kamala Harris.
Smiles and sighs of relief have been commonly found on the faces of many Americans, during the last 30 days.
The Democrats are back in control – not of just the white house – but all three branches of government.
After a tumultuous and historic year – one that saw a global pandemic kill almost 500,000 Americans, an economic crisis that rivaled only that of the Great Depression, the largest mass protests mobilization for social justice – since the civil rights movement, record-setting wildfires that burned through the state of California, and a Presidential election that was so viciously disputed that the losing candidate would later go on to incite an insurrection at the US Capitol – it’s understandable that many Americans were burnt out as they began 2021.
But now, with a Democrat back in office and Trump gone for the foreseeable future, many Americans see this moment as an opportunity to catch their breath, take a break, and disconnect.
And as a result, social media is seemingly getting less-and-less politically contentious by the day.
And yes, there still are those Trump-diehards, who are unwaveringly posting their latest conspiracy theories and relentlessly trolling – any and everybody – who does not agree with their political beliefs, like the 2020 election results, state of the republican party and what transpired at the US Capitol on Jan 6th, 2021.
But moving them aside, there is a more interesting shift that is happening now on the democratic side. We are beginning to see many put their once steadfast performative activism completely to rest. A simple scroll down a social media timeline will show you that many are posting less-and-less about social justice, advocating less for Black lives, and being less actively anti-racist.
Alternatively–those once outspoken social justice advocates–are now deciding to revert back to how they use to manage their social media platform and image: feeding their followers with what they see now as more “fun,” “trendy,” and consumable content: latest fashion, music, celebrity gossip, personal accomplishments, and etc.
You know, the way their timelines use to flow before 2016.
Because for them, they did it – finally got Trump out of office, posted their black boxes during the summer, got their likes from their performative activism #BlackOutTuesday posts, and most importantly, they feel that they validated themselves.
In their eyes, their job here is done.
“It’s finally over. We can go back to the good old days now,” they say.
Heck, even Joe Biden publicly said himself – “America is back.”
But hey, this is just on social media.
What about the real world, you ask?
Well, take a quick glance outside and what do you see?
There are few to any protests engulfing the streets.
Less Black Lives Matter signs in front of businesses, schools, or apartment windows.
Fewer pro-athletes choosing to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem in sporting events.
And you know that once popular “Defund the Police” rallying cry?
Well, it has nearly now become a thing of the past.
“Just a silly snappy slogan,” some Democratic leaders say.
And that is because, for some, there is just simply no immediate need to speak out anymore.
The Democrats are in control now – “they got this, we’re good.”
And while that would be nice to imagine; it is not the time to stop, nor time for us to take our foot off the pedal and slow down.
Because we were never “good.”
And the oppression of Black and Brown people in this country was never just some trendy hashtag for you to build capital on. Nor something to only speak out on when it is socially comfortable for you to do so.
For instance, when former Superbowl starting quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, took a non-violent knee to protest police brutality and racial injustice in 2016, where were all the black boxes of support?
Instead, many stood quiet and watched on as he was ridiculed, mocked, and even threatened.
Because at that time, speaking out on social injustice was not the popular or comfortable thing for some to do on social media.
But just because it is not comfortable, does not mean it is not necessary.
Black Lives Still Matter
From the knee Kaepernick took in 2016, to the knee that rested on George Floyd’s neck in 2020, Black and Brown people’s struggle for survival continues to be a very real and pressing issue in America–with or without Donald Trump serving in office.
Take for example 2008 and 2012, we had both a Black and Democratic President in office for two full terms, but yet, police violence still continued to ravish the streets.
Do the names Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner ring a bell?
Or have we already forgotten about the events at Ferguson?
This all took place while Barack Obama served as our Commander-in-Chief.
Therefore, we must understand that police brutality and white supremacy will not just magically disappear with Trump gone.
Because these very issues never started with Trump; people only started paying attention to them with his presidency.
His time in office proves that he was only a symptom, not the cause of the many deeply rooted and diseased problems we face in America.
If we choose to close our eyes again and just blindly disconnect; we may reopen our eyes in 2024 to the rise of a more dangerous, Trump 2.0.
So right now, it is a time for a call-to-action: a mandate to create a fairer and more equitable America.
By pushing for bolder and more aggressive agendas to combat our century-long crises.
And yes, that means fighting for police reform, environmental justice, and universal medical care.
We have an American-born responsibility to fight for equality on all fronts; not just when Donald Trump – a white supremacist is in office, and we have our backs up against the wall.
But right now, while we have an ally in office.
And this time if we do not deliver–we will not have Trump to blame.
The American people are watching closely now, more than ever before.
And what we do today–at this very moment–will determine the world our children and children’s children making a living in.
Do we want to give them a world where a Trump 2.0 reigns as President?
Or do we want to leave them with a fairer and more just America?
We have the power to decide–exactly that.
And the American people are counting on us to do so.
This past November, they heard our pleads and decided to give the Democrats unilateral control of the government, in hopes of real systemic change.
They did their part … and delivered.
Now, will we?