This piece is cross-posted from Common Cause.
“Speaking just a few weeks before his assassination, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.”
Right now a rebellion against what many call “the new Jim Crow”, the police violence and mass incarceration decimating Black life in America, is swelling in every major American city and across the world. Rather than provide history and context to help audiences understand this political moment or lift up the voices of those historically unheard, media coverage of this rebellion has been largely critical of the emerging movement, choosing to focus largely on property crimes and violence, recycling stale and untrue claims that there are no leaders, no demands, no vision, only misguided anger.”