PRAYING FOR AND DEMANDING JUSTICE
James Baldwin shared in 1961, “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious, is to be in a rage almost all the time. So that the first problem is how to control that rage so that it won’t destroy you.”
Although shared in 1961, many of us in 2020 can relate to Baldwin’s statement and sentiment. Many of us have had experiences that have caused us to feel and express rage, anger, frustration, fury and a variety of other emotions. The experiences that unleashed those emotions was because of the treatment that we received simply and only because we were Black. Many times, we had more money, more education, more status, more influence and more affluence that those who agitated us. Nevertheless, because we were Black, we were considered and treated like we were less than.
Significant in Baldwin’s statement is not just being Black [Negro] in this country, it is being Black [Negro] in this country and relatively conscious. I have found that if a person does not know what is going on, they do not care what is going on. It is for that reason many can see the injustices and inequalities that occur every day in our communities, shrug their shoulders, shake their heads and continue on with what they were doing as if nothing was strange or out of order.
To be conscious is to be aware of what is going on; to see, eyes wide open, the games that are being played; to take into consideration what is the truth versus the alternative facts that have propped up lying as an acceptable response; to be woke.
So, how do we control the rage so that it will not destroy us? First, in Ephesians 4:26, Paul writes, “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath. Paul encourages us to not allow our anger and rage to cause us to sin. Think about it – when we allow our anger and rage to cause us to sin, we are no better than the ones who facilitated the anger and rage within us.
Second, we must be intentional about transitioning our anger and rage into action. Yes, you are angry. Yes, you are enraged. However, what are you going to do? How do we transition our anger and rage into something that will accomplish a positive and productive outcome?
Here is an opportunity. Many have viewed the video of the attorney, Stephanie Rapkin, who spit in the face of a Black teen who was protesting. Although she was arrested and charged with a hate crime, the community is requesting that everyone files a complaint with the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR), the agency of the Wisconsin Supreme Court that receives grievances relating to lawyer misconduct, conducts investigations, and prosecutes violations of lawyer ethics rules.
Instructions for filing a grievance
To file by telephone: Call (608) 267-7274 or (877) 315-6941, and choose option 1
To submit a written grievance: You can write a letter and mail it to Office of Lawyer Regulation, 110 East Main Street, Suite 315, P.O. Box 1648, Madison, WI 53701-1648 or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.