The Urgent Call for Justice in Black America (OP-ED) By Kenneth Chamberlain Junior

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In a nation that prides itself on equality and justice for all, one cannot help but question the conspicuous silence that shrouds incidents of violence against the Black community. While the cries for justice reverberate loudly when other races face adversity, the same cannot be said for the persistent brutality faced by Black Americans.

It is disheartening to acknowledge that some of our elected officials only brandish the slogan “Black Lives Matter” when it aligns with their political agendas. The phrase has been uttered more for political posturing than as a sincere commitment to dismantling the deeply ingrained systemic issues that plague our society.

The stark reality of police violence against Black individuals is an undeniable crisis that demands our collective attention. According to harrowing statistics (https://mappingpoliceviolence.org) and (https://www.statista.com/statistics/1124036/number-people-killed-police-ethnicity-us) as of December 18, 2023, 282 Black lives were lost at the hands of the police, compared to 201 Hispanic and 495 White lives. The rate of police shootings targeting Black Americans stands alarmingly high at 5.9 per million people, dwarfing the rates for Hispanic (2.5 per million) and White (2.3 per million) communities.

Black individuals are 2.9 times more likely to be killed by the police than their white counterparts, underscoring the urgent need for systemic change. The past year 2023 witnessed 197 days marred by the tragic loss of Black lives at the hands of law enforcement, painting a grim picture of the state of justice in our nation.

What transpires in our society when the very institutions sworn to protect and serve engage in actions that mirror crimes against humanity? Crimes against humanity are a widespread, systematic attack on a civilian or identifiable part of a civilian population. Murder, torture, sexual violence, enslavement, persecution, and enforced disappearance fall under this ominous umbrella. The continuous violation of Black lives reveals systemic and institutional racism at its most insidious and entrenched state.

To affect positive change, we must move beyond the superficial acknowledgment of the issue and delve into actionable solutions. First and foremost, there must be an unyielding commitment from our leaders to address the root causes of systemic racism. Legislation must be enacted to hold law enforcement accountable for their actions, with comprehensive reforms that prioritize de-escalation tactics, community policing, and the demilitarization of police forces.

Furthermore, education plays a pivotal role in dismantling prejudiced ideologies. Implementing curriculum reforms that accurately reflect the history and contributions of Black Americans is crucial. By fostering understanding and empathy, we can hope to break the cycle of ignorance that perpetuates discrimination.

The time for performative gestures is over. It is time for a genuine reckoning with the inequities that persist in our society. Let us collectively rise to the occasion and demand justice, not just in words, but in the tangible actions and policies that will reshape our nation into one that truly values and protects every life, regardless of the color of their skin.

Kenneth Chamberlain Junior

AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief and co-owner of Black Westchester, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Rap Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.

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