OUR GREEK SYMBOLS + SILENCE WILL NOT SAVE US | Do “Black Lives Matter?”
There is something terribly wrong with the position of any Black Greek-Lettered Organization, barring its members from peacefully protesting in “their letters.” This is true in the case of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, whose leadership made the Sorority’s opposition to its membership doing so known to the public just a few days ago.
It was particularly troubling to me as a Delta, that this announcement was made of the fifty-ninth anniversary of the beginning of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Their 381-day protest began in the rain, and continued for thirteen months, in spite of pouring rain, blazing heat, bitter cold, and every possible weather scenario in between. Galvanizing behind Rosa Parks, the mild-mannered, church-going seamstress who had refused to give-up her seat on a public bus five days earlier, and galvanized by 40,000 women and men whose “character” may have disallowed them the right and/or responsibility of being a organizing symbol, they, washerwomen, walked before dawn, into white neighborhoods, cleaning houses, cooking food, and all but wet-nursing white children, only to return to their homes long after dusk, into the dead of night. Parks, a member of the NAACP, was, like much of Montgomery’s black community, well acquainted with the previous protest of 15 year-old Claudette Colvin and 18 year-old Mary Louise Smith.
Much like the protests of Colvin and Smith, the killings of Mike Brown, or of Eric Garner, matter. The loss of these black lives, and the many more that we have since moved on and away from, cannot be dismissed by politics of black respectability or for fear of liability, and likewise must not be quieted by edicts from cooperate, church and/or fraternity and sorority boardrooms whether, black or white.
Whose death will garner the support of my Sorority’s symbols if not the deaths of unarmed black men and women? Would yours? Would mine? We cannot be about our founders’ business when we have to sanction, much less bar public protest. Let it be known, that our symbols, our silence nor our “safe-service” [as coined by Soror Tamura A. Lomax] will save us. Our symbols cannot be deemed more important that what they symbolize.
Don’t we believe that ”#BlackLivesMatter?”