Silencing protestors is Un-AmericanDr. E. Faye Williams / June 1, 2018
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When the voices representing us are silenced, what do we do? Many of us love sports and since most teams in almost every sport would be judged just another boring team without Black players, decent voices in sports have been silenced. Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest police brutality. He was punished for doing good by upholding a right of citizenship. Others followed Colin’s courageous act. A few misguided athletes criticized Colin because they just didn’t get it, but so many of us understood and supported his action.
Many of us took a knee prior to every football game to show our support. After several other players began understanding the significance of Colin’s act, the bosses of the National Football League decided it was time to silence Colin’s supporters. They’ve already silenced him by colluding to make him an unemployed quarterback. Now they’ve attempted to silence all players who might want to express their belief that police violence against Black people without cause is wrong.
The plot thickens. Since it’s more likely to have Democratic voices speak out for freedom of speech, certain Republicans have decided to silence those voices by refusing to allow them in the room as they uncover what may be not so pleasant details about their standard bearer – #45. If they have no fear about what they would see, what is it that caused them to deny anyone who might see things differently from the unchallenged spin they would bring out of the meeting? Who represents us? Do actions to silence those who speak for us concern enough of us to make a difference in November on election day?
I fear that diminishing our rights has become so common that many of us are just shaking our heads in defeat as though there’s nothing we can do. Dick Gregory taught us that people will do to us whatever we tolerate. I think too many of us are tolerating too much. When even the voices of our elected representatives are silenced, it’s time for us to rise up and show our objections. Our rights are being sliced away every day. You name it. We’ve experienced an increase in the murders of our innocent children in schools. We have a “so-called leader” with a bottomless appetite for destruction of all that has been achieved, one who embarrasses us around the world and one who consistently tries to end social services and healthcare for the needy.
Now athletes have lost their freedom of speech on the field. Every race, creed and culture, as well as women are denigrated. Hatred thrives and has gained a stranglehold on decency. Not just Black ancestors, but many decent people have worked too hard, suffered too much for us to throw up our hands and assume there is nothing we can do.
Bishop William Barber has planned a “Poor People’s Campaign” and we need to sign up to participate in great numbers. If we sit back and say nothing, our silence is giving consent and acceptance to the notion that it’s okay to silence athletes even though there would be no game without them. Silencing our elected leaders by refusing them an equal opportunity to be at the table on our behalf is taking away our right to free speech, too. This campaign is as much about us as it is about those who have no job, no hope and no hope of hope, as well as for those who suffer from police brutality or those who are discriminated against or those who suffer any form of injustice. This campaign impacts us, too, so let’s all get involved and do our part.
Dr. E. Faye Williams is national president of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. Visit: www.nationalcongressbw.org.