#WhoIsBurningBlackChurches | Respond With Love: Rebuild Black Churches, Support Victims of Arson Across the South

I feel like a proud parent. Well, I am a proud parent but this time my proud parent feeling is about the work that my little sister Faatimah Knight is doing. She is not so little – she’s 24, but in her young age she is doing work that is thoughtful, compassionate and meaningful. A few weeks ago she rallied the America Muslim community to join my family in a collective effort to send gifts of condolences to the Emmauel AME church in Charleston South Carolina after 9 Black parishoners were killed there in a racist terrorist attack last month. Earlier this week, she posted these pictures of  Mrs. Althea, the Secretary of the Emmauel AME church receiving the flowers.

AME_SecretaryFaatimahFBFromMuslimsCard

Her latest project is leading an effort to raise funds from within the American Muslim community to assist in rebuilding Black Churches that have been victims of arson in just the past few weeks since the mass murder of 9 Black people at the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, SC. Here’s an excerpt description of her project from her Launchgood fudraising page:

8 Black churches have been burned to the ground since the shooting of 9 parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. These church burnings happened within the span of 10 days. Three were undoubtedly set by arsons; the others are pending investigation. But to many it is clear that these are attacks on Black culture, Black religion and Black lives. These kinds of attacks on Black churches are a very old form of intimidation in the South, historically used to strike fear into the hearts of Black people.

…We must always keep in mind that the Muslim community and the black community are not different communities. We are profoundly integrated in many ways, in our overlapping identities and in our relationship to this great and complicated country. We are connected to Black churches through our extended families, our friends and teachers, and our intertwined histories and convergent present.

Faatimah will be continuing to raise funds for the church rebuilding efforts until the end of Ramadan, which is next week. We are really close to the finish line. FromLauchngoodPost

To learn more about this project, and to participate in this effort visit the Launchgood page for Respond With Love: Rebuild Black Churches, Support Victims of Arson Across the South:

https://www.launchgood.com/project/respond_with_love_rebuild_black_churches_support_victims_of_arson_across_the_south

The Lynching of Kalief Browder (and I’m going Public!)

I’ve decided to go public! ….with my thoughts. Having this site where people see lots of images of my work is great and with those images I also have this desire to write and share publicly in a part of cyberspace that I feel belongs to me. Today, June 10th 2015 is the first day of this blogging aspect of my website.  I’m motivated to write due to a lot of hope and some heart clenching emotions and deep sadness about Kalief Browder’s suicide on Saturday, June 6, 2015.

I don’t get to have a conversation with everyone who has the opportunity to look at my work online or in person, but, maybe this blog will do some of what a conversation seeks to accomplish.

Here I’ll speak more plainly.

Or, I might ramble on…

Sometimes you’ll just look at what I’m looking at and listen to what I’m listening to:


There is for me, something especially painful about the loss of this young man. The fact that he hung himself feels like only a technicality regarding his death. His death, his suicide is the result of deep trauma, our society’s lack of empathy, racism, and extreme injustice. We have seen many images of Black people, black men especially hung with a rope wrapped around their necks. We call those lynchings. We haven’t seen one exactly like this in a long time. I imagine that what Kalief Browder’s mother witnessed when she saw him hanging from a window in their home looked quite similar.

samcarterKalief Browder looks so familiar to me. His  suicide is especially tragic because it symbolizes a loss of hope, one for which Black people especially cling onto. We look at our own history and even our current situation and we wonder how we have held on to joy and even moreso, our humanity, dignity, kindness and love for one another (and even this country) in spite of the constant attacks on us by the oppressive system that oftentimes is stacked against us.

Yesterday I was listening to a program on NPR where a writer was talking about how Ghandi instructed Hindus to remain non-violent and commit suicide instead of fighting back. He said this would shame their oppressors. I don’t support suicide and I do not agree with non-violence at any cost. I do agree that what causes people under such duress to commit suicide points back to the oppressor and the traumatizing effect of  their oppression. They are blameworthy. Shame on them!

Shame on all the demonic system and all of its evil minions who caused this young man so much suffering.  Who paid him no mind when he suffered mental illness and punished him more for this, caused him to lose his mind and beat his body, and then finally lose hope. They wrapped a noose around his neck and pointed him to the tree. He was so traumatized,  mentally ill, burdened and heavy with sadness; that this weight coupled with the noose caused him to lose his life.

To see a young man like this lose hope and know that he must have felt that he had reached his limits… well, I am at a loss for words. Just sadness, anger, exhaustion, empathy, sympathy, a desire to hold and coddle him, I wish I could rock him back and forth and tell him that tomorrow will be better, he is stronger. God still loves him, he survived, and he will thrive again. Even moreso, I wish I could get him a plane ticket out of the hellish shit-hole that has become much of America for so many Black people and show him that the world is bigger, people are better, and there is a B-side to this scratched up record; a B-side that has not been listened to where the songs are slower and a little more experimental. I wish for people in such traumatic situation to be shown a better escape route. There is a route to freedom and the underground railroad still exists. Please search for allies. Search for answers and new routes to freedom. I don’t know what would have helped Kalief and I don’t blame himm for what he did. I just wish that no one else does. We have to get people out of the hell they are living in before it’s too late.

Please comfort one another.

When asked, “Who gives a fuck about your feelings?”, –  particularly the feelings of Black people suffering,  please say “I do!”