Sean Yoes

Since five Dallas police officers were gunned down last week by a lone (allegedly) sniper, who allegedly claimed (before he was blown to bits by an explosives toting robot implemented by Dallas police) he wanted to kill cops, especially White cops, life seems to have gotten harder for the Black Lives Matter Movement. Not that it has ever been easy, but when Micah Johnson also allegedly claimed he empathized with Black Lives Matter before he was killed, some of America’s most well worn race agitators and arsonists slithered to the surface once again to demonize and threaten BLM.

“This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out Black Live Matter punks. Real America is coming after you,” tweeted former one-term Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh on the day of the Dallas shootings.

Then of course there was former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. “It’s inherently racist because, number one, it divides us…All lives matter: White lives, Black lives, all lives. Number two: Black Lives Matter never protests when every 14 hours somebody is killed in Chicago, probably 70-80% of the time by a Black person. Where are they then? Where are they when a young Black child is killed?,” was just part of Giuliani’s rant on Fox News earlier this week.

Giuliani, who has a rich history of wallowing in racial animus, reminds me of an Italian-American Eugene “Bull Connor, the iconic racist commissioner of Public Safety in Birmingham, Al., who ordered the fire hoses turned on Black protesters at the height of that city’s racial strife in the 1960’s. However Giuliani, unlike Connor, trades in his racist invective with a New York accent and a lisp.

Despite the denouncements and the threats the BLM movement continues to lead protests against police brutality across the nation. High profile BLM activist and former Baltimore mayoral candidate DeRay McKesson was arrested and detained for 16 hours last Saturday after a particularly volatile confrontation with aggressive law enforcement in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in wake of the shooting death of Alton Sterling at the hands of Baton Rouge police. “The protesters were peaceful last night, the police were not,” McKesson, who is currently chief of human capital for Baltimore City Public Schools, told the Washington Post over the weekend. “I was in compliance with the law, and I am confident that this was an unlawful arrest,” he added.

It seems clear in the wake of St. Paul, Baton Rogue and Dallas, the BLM movement is at a critical and precarious time in its short history.

“There needs to be some harnessing of the energy into a real specific program around building power in communities. Because I think what has happened, particularly with a lot of the younger people who are now getting involved, I think have grown up with this illusion of what America is,” said Dayvon Love, co-founder of Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, a Baltimore based political think tank. “Until we build the kind of power to be able to levy consequences against people that undermine our humanity then we’re going to keep seeing what we’re seeing. And I think too many people have a disposition about pleading and asking to be treated well, instead of putting the energy into building the infrastructure so that people are going to do it by way of the power you have to make them do it,” Love added.

Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (LBS) have worked closely with BLM on several law enforcement reform initiatives.

“I think it’s important folks have a precise response to the shooting in Dallas, so they don’t open themselves up to more scrutiny and more propaganda that is going to undermine their ability to get support,” Love added.

“I think what they (BLM) are wrestling with now is how to build an infrastructure so that their certain principles and a certain chain of command, that better allows them to distinguish who speaks for Black Lives Matter and who doesn’t. And the reason why that’s important in regards to the shooting in Dallas is…the Black Lives Matter Movement is not this ubiquitous thing that controls the minds of everybody that believes racism exists in America,” Love said.

And BLM certainly didn’t control the mind of Micah Johnson and they shouldn’t be held accountable for his actions.

Sean Yoes is a senior contributor for the AFRO and host and executive producer of First Edition, which airs Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on WEAA 88.9.


Sean Yoes

AFRO Baltimore Editor