Are We Allowed To live? - By Yolanda Lear

Passage used in an report on 'policing in Hackney' done by some amazing youth leaders at Account Hackney


Frustration, pain and agony. These are some of the emotions I feel when staring into the face of this tragedy. When I see a Black man, who could be my father, brother, uncle or cousin, murdered, with no justice. And this isn't the first. Are these murders a way of silencing our struggle, our pain as a people? Are these murders a way of the system telling us we don't belong? That we aren't welcome on the land of the "Great"? Nor are we welcome in the kingdom that is supposed to be United? United means to be one, to be treated equally regardless of anything. But where is the equality?

Why is it, when I see someone who looks like me, they are usually deemed as a criminal or a lost cause? What hope do I have, to find hope in a world where it is a sin to be Black? We try to get our voices heard and we are told, "NO DON'T DO THAT"!

Anger boiling up and tensions rising, we don't get to express the emotions inside. But then we are told, we are being ‘too violent’. So, we protest in peace, but now we are causing havoc on these streets.

I am a young Black woman, asking "What do you want from me?" If I stay silent, my silence is deafening. A direct injustice to my ancestors. I would feel like I'm letting down my people. But when we speak it falls on deaf ears; so how do we get heard? I guess the real question is, do you even want to listen? Because we have been speaking for years, and still haven't been heard. So as a Black person, I ask you, can you listen to our cries? We say Black Lives Matter, and you respond, "all lives matter." But if all lives mattered, why do we still have to question whether or not Black lives really matter? If all lives do matter, can you stand with us? Not against us in the fight for equality and justice? Can you see a human being, not a thug, criminal, drug addict, when you see our Black men? Can you see a human being, not a loudmouth, aggressive woman, when you see our Black women? Because all lives can't matter until you can listen to our cries and emotions, without trying to counteract what it is we are saying. Until you can do this, I am yet to believe that you really believe all lives matter. Are we allowed to live? I have to ask, because we are getting murdered with no justice over here in the UK, as well as the USA. It has become a trendy topic all over our socials. We are forced to watch the modern-day lynching of our people. Forced to see the faces of their killers, as it's all over our socials. To then see, no justice has been given. Yep, you guessed it, it's all over our socials as well.

My people we say Black Lives Matter, but in the same breath, we are killing and cursing our own people. How is it we expect the world to view our lives as Black people as valuable if we as Black people do not view our lives as valuable. If we look and talk down on our very own people on a regular basis. Think about the emotional trauma, we as a people experience from seeing this. From seeing someone who could easily be related to us, murdered. Imagine the fears a mother has when letting her son go out. When your skin alone makes you a target. Imagine the paranoia we live in, not knowing if today could be the day it happens to you. To make matters worse it's not only the police we have to be on guard for. Cops are killing us, people of other races are killing us, we are killing us! So again, I ask, are we allowed to live?

-Yolanda Lear, June 2020

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