Being “woke” once symbolized awareness of historical and present injustices faced by an individual or group. It symbolized removal of the blinders of racism and other systems of oppression and an awakening to reality, and an acknowledgement of the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King: “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
I’m a 26-year-old black American man and the executive director of Concerned Communities for America (CCA). I know what racism is, and the massacre in May at a black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, is a painful reminder that we have not yet achieved the promise of freedom and equal justice everywhere. (RELATED: ANDERSON: Has America Reached Peak Woke Capitalism?)
But there is another form of carnage in our society that takes place every single day in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and my hometown of Chicago — and our “woke” society turns a blind eye to it: in 2020 firearm-related homicides reached their highest level in more than 25 years. Most of these murders took place in urban areas, and most of the victims are black.
Young men and women who look as I do; young boys and girls whose futures are cut short.
Despite the ostentatious virtue-signaling of BLM supporters and “woke” capitalists, crime and income disparities continue to rise, especially in urban and minority-dominated areas — and all the “peaceful” protests and message-laden ad campaigns in the world do nothing to improve the conditions that underlie these atrocities.
I am not naïve; most of the violent crime in our cities is by people who look like those they commit crimes against, and painfully, I’ve experienced it firsthand. Four years ago, a young black man shot me near my home on the south side of Chicago; and 12 weeks later my cousin Darius was killed by the same boy who attempted to take my life.
Pastor Marc Little of Los Angeles, a CCA board member, lost his right leg to a gang member’s 12-gauge shotgun — but his faith is stronger than ever, as is his resolve to help his brothers and sisters of color, and our country.
Multiply what happened to Pastor Little, and what happened to myself and Darius, by the thousands every year: this is the magnitude of the evil and mass extinction we face; but most importantly the opportunity we have truly to improve not only black lives but every life in every community in America.
So where are the BLM founders, and the “woke” corporations who rushed to seek valor by aligning with them, two years later — when the communities whose distress they exploited suffer are in dire need of genuine support and safety?
Here’s the truth: Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF), and its affiliates comprise a radical neo-Marxist group to whom the only “lives” that matter are those through their deaths they collected millions in their massive grift. BLM has spent the past two years calling for defunding of our police forces, and it has consistently demeaned the women and men in blue–including, sadly, those who have fallen protecting our communities.
BLMGNF has created an atmosphere in which police officers fear for their lives while doing their jobs, and where violence, destruction and lawlessness are rewarded as an expression of one’s First Amendment rights. They have used the very real concerns of the black community and manufactured a manifesto of race baiting anarchy disguised as a plea for justice and equality.
Breaking News from the F.B.I.: 73 police officers, women and men, were murdered in 2021. Not in high-speed crashes, not by heart attack in pursuit of criminals. No. Murdered.
Corporate America has become complicit through vocal and financial support of the organization and their tactics. Tens of millions of dollars have found their way into the corrupt coffers of BLMGNF and its affiliates.
Our organization, CCA, has reached out to these corporations, their CEOS, and every member of their boards of directors. Our request is simple: acknowledge the mistake in your past “woke” support of entities like BLMGNF, whose toxic advocacy has only increased the crime and carnage in our communities; and pledge to support the women and men in blue who protect your corporations, franchisees, retailers, and customers 24/7.
So far, all we’ve heard is crickets, with one exception, and we will soon meet with that CEO. Most of the “woke” corporations are now hunkering down, hoping that this all just blows over and they can get back to “normal.”
It’s time for these “woke” corporations to wake up. Meanwhile, Concerned Communities of America is sounding the alarm.
DaQuawn Bruce is the Executive Director of Concerned Communities for America, a 501(c)3 advocacy group.
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