A century and a half since Emancipation. 100 years of Jim Crow laws. 59 years since Brown v Board of Education. 45 years since King’s assassination. 114 years since Austin’s annexation.

And not one damn thing has changed! 

The system, the man, whitey and pig are all interchangeable — it doesn’t apply to all white people, but if all it applies to are white people, therein lies the problem.

There has to be a point where the oppressed feel they are autonomous enough to drive in the direction of a cooperative, positive trajectory without the feeling of being controlled.

I promise you they will find a way to police themselves. I know it doesn’t sound rational for a place as large as Austin, but evidenced-based restorative justice techniques say otherwise.

Black people in America have never truly felt a collective autonomy and because of this, people in Austin will never feel this way. The perpetual battle of being free from control and being controlled is one that is essentially playing out between the residents and police.

Someone will question the exact date that slavery ended. They will likely discuss the 400 years of oppression. They may even say that black people will always be second-class citizens, but that’s not the point!

When you understand that the forces behind the policies that dictate human behavior in a social environment all look the same, it is difficult to tell friend from foe.

It becomes tiring when fighting for something that always seems just out of reach. It feels like there is always one more river to cross.

One more march.

One more bus ride.

One more meeting with an elected official.

One more vote.

One more prayer.

One more black kid to get a college degree or go to the NBA or NFL or sign with a major record label to move us out of this hell-hole.

Somehow we forgot that the struggle isn’t over.

There will always be more marches, more rallies, more protests, more politically active, educated college students who progress to the benchmarks set by others who died for the very advances we take for granted.

I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but there will always be another Trayvon Martin another Martin Luther King rises or the next Malcolm X or a Fred Hampton or Mark Clark.

The pillars of internal, restorative justice must be a force such that the external forces feel inadequate intervening because all parties involved create the agenda, set the consequences that tend to be more helpful in a wayward community, which see them as a menace.