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Black Lives and Black Panthers


Last week, we witnessed the shooting of Jacob Blake and the loss of Black Panther’s star Chadwick Boseman. What’s next in 2020? With the unexpected deaths of legendary athletes and actors, the coronavirus pandemic, and the state-sanctioned killings of Black people, it isn't easy to fathom what else is in store for us this year.

We are living in some strange, difficult, complex, and dangerous times. I have disregarded this type of rhetoric for years because conflict is a mainstay of history. However, with the 24/7 access to news via social media coupled with living during a pandemic, I understand that these are "strange and dangerous times."

My acceptance of reality does not mean that I have lost my optimism. I remain faithful to work towards an abundant future that overflows with hope, justice, and prosperity.

Evidence exists that we are experiencing some aspect of a revolution. This moment in time can make you feel that death is happening at unprecedented numbers from injustices, illnesses, and natural causes.

The police’s narrative in the Blake case suggests that the officers’ actions were justified. Jacob Blake had sexual assault charges filed against him in June. They also claim that Blake resisted arrest by putting one of the officers in a headlock and reaching for a knife. Police representatives support that the warrant, headlock, and knife gave reason to shoot Jacob Blake in the back seven times.

The police officers' attorneys have interests in selling a partial rendition of the story; the public is not buying it, and deadly protests are the products.

Other witnesses offer a different timeline of events. They say that Blake attempted to break up a fight between two women. When he returned to the car to check-on his three kids, an officer fired shots at his back as he opened the car door. One of these witnesses captured the shooting and posted the video to social media, where it has more than one million views.

Somewhere underneath the police department's slanted story and the witnesses' account, I hope the truth surfaces. Thankfully Blake survived the shooting, but he will remain paralyzed for the rest of his life.

Meanwhile, in other news...

Who knew that Chadwick Boseman was fighting cancer? Maybe you knew, but I had no idea. In the film Black Panther, he appeared in top physical health. Behind the scenes, Boseman underwent multiple treatments and battled colon cancer since 2016.

The news of his passing hit me hard on Saturday morning. My sisters messaged me on Friday evening when Boseman died at home with his wife. On Saturday morning, when I woke and read the message, I couldn't believe the text.

Boseman was forty-three, in the prime of his acting career, and an advocate for social justice. He starred in films such as 42, Get On Up, and 21 Bridges. The news of his death is difficult to accept.

In the movie Black Panther, his role at T’Challa, king of Wakanda, elevated the superhero image. He challenged the dominant depictions of white men as all-powerful saviors of the universe. Boseman's embodiment of King T’Challa portrayed the African diaspora as intelligent, strong, and overflowing with the potential to lead the world.

The image of the Black Panther disrupted the status quo’s portrayal of Black lives as worthless and executable without punishment. It helped us see ourselves beyond the police narratives that support decisions to shoot rather than arrest.

This year has brought us the deaths of Kobe Bryant, Chadwick Boseman, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and others. Some of these losses have occurred by accident and illness, whereas others by the tentacles of racism. 2020 is not over, and no one knows what will happen next.

Use today to appreciate the life you have. Tell someone that you love them, because it is Friday. You do not need to wait until the next Hallmark holiday to remind a family member or friend that they are loved. Go for a walk without your headphones and listen to the birds. Join a protest and demand justice for victims of police brutality.

Do something today, or as soon as you finish reading this post, that brings you joy. Savor the moment and be grateful for now, because tomorrow is maybe and not guaranteed.

Please share this post with one person who may need to reevaluate how they spend their time this weekend. To develop lasting awareness of how to experience more gratitude in your life, enroll in my personal development course.

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