It’s Like Dejavu All Over Again… Yogi Berra

By: Pamela Bridgeforth

It seems like we’ve been down this path before.  Another sketchy arrest, another prone black man with another police officer standing, bending, leaning, beating him down.  Do we click on it or do we say in the back of our minds: “I can’t take another one of these…” and make a quick swipe to the left on our phones or tablets to see what Ben Affleck is up to these days—not because we don’t care.  But more out of a mistaken belief that caring doesn’t seem to matter anymore.  Mere caring isn’t enough and it hasn’t been enough for a long time.  You know that.  Actions and deeds matter.  But what could I do all by myself or maybe with a few of my Facebook friends that won’t seem like lawn chair activism?    

Well you could protest in solidarity with others throughout the country and now the world.  Civil rights activism in downtown Berlin, Germany?  Or, you could loot that store with the racist salesclerk that always hassles folks for no reason.  But that wouldn’t get you anywhere because all the good stuff is already gone anyway and really what would that solve?  What insightful moment of pause would or could come from boosting a hat even your cat doesn’t want?  But that cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, well….

Something seems different about this time around though.  It feels more painful.  It feels more desperate.  It feels like you can’t breathe.  You and millions of others are struggling to get more air into your lungs, to pull yourself up, to push off the weight you have been carrying living through the daily, steady and increasing drum beat of unjust treatment and abuse.  

You could continue stay prone metaphorically speaking.  Swipe to the left for the next celebrity silliness. Or instead of just wearing a Black Lives Matter tee shirt, you might just start believing that in fighting for black and brown people’s rights you also fight for your own.  Sister Mary Scullion, co-founder of Project HOME coined the phrase: “No one is home until everyone is home.”  That well loved and respected slogan came from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s: “No one is free until we all are free….”  He borrowed that from the poet Emma Lazarus.  (See, some looting can lead to positive things.)

No one can breathe free in this country unless we all can breathe free.  That is the price of democracy and freedom and its owed to not only to the we who live now, but also to those yet to arrive.    Fellow humans on planet earth, we owe it to ourselves to work with more thought and deeper care to do just that both in deed and word.   A good place to start is by being a little kinder to others that may look different than you and be more willing to share the sunshine and fresh air of  living in dignity and peace.  People around the world will stand with us to help.  We’ve got a country and a democracy that still needs to be built.  

It ain’t over until the (Phatt*) lady sings—that too is from Yogi Berra.


*Phatt: attractive, voluptuous woman.



June 3, 2020