I’m a black woman, mother of a young black girl, wife of a black man. Our family members and friendships are diverse, yet I worry most about the safety of those with a darker shade of skin in my circle of influence, not only in the hands of law enforcement, but in the community at large, in the hospitals and more. Living in the U.S., it is not lost to anyone that black people are treated differently in many cases especially within the criminal justice system. The sentences donned out are usually swift and harsh and in way too many unfortunate cases, black people are killed. For many of us, the people that are killed symbolize brothers, partners, husbands, sisters, cousins, uncles, friends, coworkers and more. Every time a death in the hands of law enforcement or a racist member of our community is broadcast, our hearts break.
Within our communities, at our jobs and elsewhere, many of us have experienced racism in many forms. Late last year, I met a woman who was so raw because her daughter had been killed by a racist man. My husband and I have had an irate man in a truck who was trying to ran us off the road, point his fingers towards us, arranged in the symbol of a gun. A dear friend of mine was frightened and insulted by some young men in a truck who stuck their heads out of the vehicle and yelled racial slurs at her as she walked home. I’ve been called the “N” word, “black witch” and more. In many cases, these encounters have felt hopeless but nothing compares to actually dying or having a loved one perish.
As Rev Al Sharpton eulogized George Floyd yesterday, he mentioned that the color of those on the street protesting is very diverse. This is something he said he hasn’t seen in the past. I have seen protest signs saying that “Silence is violence” a sentiment amongst others, that has motivated many to be a part of the black lives matter movement. This shows that there are many people who:
- Want things to change
- Believe that black lives matter
- Are demanding reform of the criminal justice system and are risking exposure to coronavirus in order to exercise their first amendment rights.
I feel passionate about what’s going on in our community and I'm participating by reaching out to our leaders, writing letters to congress, making phone calls, collaborating with friends and family to safely march in the streets of Philadelphia calling for lasting change, meaningful dialogue and collaboration in our community of citizens.
What are you feeling about race relations & criminal justice in this country? What are your experiences? What are you doing about it? What organizations have you joined that make a difference in our communities?
About the Author – Mumbi Dunjwa is an award-winning chemist from the American Chemical Society. She is the Founder & CEO of Naturaz and she formulated the industry leading Moisture Burst System™. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and nuclear medicine technology and a Masters degree from Carnegie Mellon University. She is passionate about seamlessly integrating health and beauty in our lives and she is a strong advocate for advancing STEM education among our youth, developing STEM careers and empowering women and girls around the world.