The saying goes: Give people flowers while they’re alive to smell them. This summer a lot of lives were lost, a lot of hurt happened, and the question of how to build community has been in the air; I personally think that giving people the support, love, and attention they need and seek while they are alive would be a wonderful start.
This summer 32-year-old Alton Sterling was killed by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Sterling was shot outside the Baton Rouge convenience store after an encounter with two police officers. The officers can be seen in the video on top of him before shots were fired.” Sterling was the father of five children and after the murder of their father, a GoFundMe Campaign was created to assist in sending Sterling’s children to college and the completion of his wife raising their children. In total $700,000 was made in honor of Alton Sterling. This was such an amazing act of kindness, to see individuals in the community coming to the aid of others in need.
A day after Alton Sterling’s tragic killing, Philando Castile was shot four times in front of his fiancé and their four-year-old daughter while trying to show a police officer his permit to carry and registration during a traffic stop. Castile worked as a cafeteria supervisor, where he was loved by the student and staff that worked alongside him at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in Saint Paul, Minnesota. After his death only days before his birthday, TIME Magazine says his school held a memorial in his honor. All who attended were in disbelief that this amazing human being was gone. Someone who played such a key role in the lives of children in the community had been taken away too soon. Never the less, people gathered to share the amazing things that he did for their school and in the lives of their kids. How beautiful this must have been.
These two deaths are just a couple that have taken place, and just like many people have stated, blacks aren’t just all of a sudden being killed they’ve been being killed the world is just now seeing it live on video. The tragedy of these incidents still hit hard regardless of how many lives have been taken.
However, with this kind of publicity and the Black Lives Matter Movement keeping the world abreast of the injustices done to Blacks by the police, it has bred a lot of action and story followers; people who are just chasing after these horrific issues but never really being of any value or assistance to the community or movement as a whole.
Don’t just be a part of the community when the community is trending. Giving to Alton Sterling’s family after his death was an amazing act, but the sad realization is if he was still alive his kids might still face the possibility of never going to college and watching their father live pay check to pay check. Invest in your communities regardless of if you’re black, white, hispanic, asian, etc. Give to your community while there is still life in your community. Don’t sit around and wait until someone is breathing their last breath to be in outrage or to find a concern.
Everyone wants to come to the funeral, everyone wants to cry, and people will give hundreds of dollars on GoFundMe to help with burial costs. But if you tell those same people your dream or ask them to invest in your goals they’ll have every excuse under the sun as to why right now isn’t a good time or why they can’t. These people are what’s wrong in the community. To watch and see someone with a need go without for selfish purposes and then have a change of conscience when that person is in a tragic position is a hindrance to us all.
It is sad to say that we live in a society of constant complaint and outrage, but no one is ever outraged or complaining until the cameras come out and a hashtag is trending. To be a part of progression, if this is a dream of yours, is not to be a social justice warrior. It’s not even about you individually; It’s about the end goal. Until the goal becomes bigger than the notoriety and fame, we will forever live in a world full of people living from sad story to sad story with no hope of change.
In the end don’t just be a movement chaser or a hot-topic follower. You can’t change the world over night, but by investing in your community and in the lives of community members, I’m positive you will help those in need and bring back at least a little sanity in this world. Give people their flowers while they can still smell them. Don’t wait until the last moment to care and don’t be outraged when something could have and should have been done all along.Take a stand now, speak up now, help now. You don’t have to wait for the next hashtag in order to have a voice.