By State Rep. Jordan Harris
Recently in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection, a noose was found hanging from a tree near 18th and Lombard streets. This is the second time in nearly two weeks that this has occurred. As an elected official whose district borders where the noose was found, and as Chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, I immediately wanted to make an official statement.
However, I couldn’t. I couldn’t because as a Black man in Philadelphia, while I wanted to be outraged – while I wanted to be upset – I wasn’t. More importantly, I wasn’t even shocked. Instead, I thought “here we go again.” Yes, here we go again. Again with domestic terrorists seeking to intimidate, frighten and frankly, terrify people of color – particularly African -Americans.
There is no other reason for hanging a noose in 2017, unless your goal is to resurrect feelings of racial terror from the days of Emmitt Till. Or to incite fear from the days of Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner. There is no other reason. Knowing this, it saddens me for it has been 53 years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was championed. But then I’m reminded that it is 2017, and a Black man with a license to carry a firearm can still lose his life at the hands of law enforcement and nothing is done.
We are in an era where we still question if Black Lives Matter.
So while there are those that may look to me for words of wisdom – while there are those that are looking for kind and calming platitudes – sorry, but I’m all out of those. Truthfully, I’m angry. I’m pissed and just down right annoyed. And frankly, I want you to be angry with me. I want you to be outraged regardless of your race.
It doesn’t matter if you are African- American, Asian- American or Irish- American. As Americans, this is getting old. Moreover, it’s beyond un-American. Or sadly, maybe this is America. However, as Americans it’s up to us to determine if these hateful attitudes and behavior are representative of who we are as a country. Our response, and more importantly our silence, shall provide that answer.
State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila. (www.pahouse.com/Harris), represents the 186th Legislative District and serves as Chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus.