Enough is Enough

As I pen this article, I am watching news coverage of the funeral for Jayland Walker, yet another Black life ended at the hands of law enforcement. Once again, a family must mourn a tragic loss, and Black and Brown people are again reminded that they are guilty until proven innocent. Oh wait, Jayland Walker didn’t even get the chance to prove his innocence because those charged to protect and serve him chose instead to act as judge, jury, and executioner — 60 bullets in less than 60 seconds that cannot be undone.

George Floyd. Elijah McCain. Breonna Taylor. Sandra Bland. Michael Brown. Trayvon Martin. We know these names and can recall many more taken too soon by unjust police tactics. And while each name tears at my soul, Jayland Walker hit me differently. Jayland was killed in Akron, just south of Cleveland, all too close to home. I can easily imagine a scenario where that could have been my brother, or my nephew, or me. These are the same thoughts that raced through my mind when 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed several years ago, a Cleveland youth killed by those sworn to protect and serve him. While I was watching coverage of Jayland Walker’s funeral, a range of emotions filled my soul: sadness, anger, a sense of loss, and rage at why this scenario continues to play out no matter how many prayer walks are taken, protests are held, and political promises are made. Searching for something to speak to my soul, I turned to this poem by Maya Angelou:

You declare you see me dimly
through a glass which will not shine,
though I stand before you boldly,
trim in rank and marking time.
You do own to hear me faintly
as a whisper out of range,
while my drums beat out the message
and the rhythms never change.

Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.

You announce my ways are wanton,
that I fly from man to man,
but if I’m just a shadow to you,
could you ever understand?

We have lived a painful history,
we know the shameful past,
but I keep on marching forward,
and you keep on coming last.

Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.

Take the blinders from your vision,
take the padding from your ears,
and confess you’ve heard me crying,
and admit you’ve seen my tears.

Hear the tempo so compelling,
hear the blood throb in my veins.
Yes, my drums are beating nightly,
and the rhythms never change.

Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free

Reflecting on these words, I wonder if the blinders will ever be removed from our collective vision. I wonder how many more lives must be lost before enough people hear the drums beating and are willing to join in freedom’s rhythm, to take a clear stand against our systems and policies rooted in historic and present-day racism. Not everyone may agree with CHHSM’s anti-racism and social justice initiatives, but we cannot ignore the injustices that surround us and be true to our mission, or authentic to the people we serve. As hard as it has been to watch Jayland’s family mourn his death, it is harder to accept the fact that he will not be the last name on that list. That, my friends, is the shame that this generation adds to our painful history. Enough is enough.

Join Our Mailing LIst

Follow on Facebook
Quick Links