Fifty years is a long time, but it is still less than a lifetime. It was the year of my birth. Fifty years ago, the Freedom Riders volunteered to use their summer to help put an end to Jim Crow. Young men, boys really, died. Those that murdered the boys claimed to be Christian. Hanging from a tree, Jesus commands them not to blaspheme. This year I celebrated my fiftieth birthday. An unarmed boy was gunned down in Ferguson, Mo. His community went out to protest and it became a riot. Ferguson has entered into the public imagination.
Fifty years is a long time, but it is still less than a lifetime. Media covering the story have been slammed, detained and tear gassed. The Supreme Court gutted much of the Voter Act saying racism was a thing of the past. Ferguson is 70 percent African American but only 6 percent of the police force. No one on the Ferguson City council looks like the protestors. Many who point to the end of racism point to a black president, but those that point to this fact did not, in fact, vote for the man. Lies are what we tell ourselves to bring justification. Has racism ended since my eyes first saw the light of day? Fifty years is a long time, but it is still less than a lifetime. Martin Luther King came to Washington to cash a long overdue check on our founding principle of all men are created equal. It lays there on the ground, covered in blood of young Civil War soldiers, the the strange fruit hanging from a tree, and on dried blood on the streets of Ferguson. Will we pick up the check? A man of character is one that acts on justice. Luther had a dream; that we will be judged by our character. Fifty years is a long time, but it is still less than a lifetime.[wp_paypal_payment]
Art, says Ernesto Tinajero, comes from the border of what has come before and what is coming next. Tinajero uses his experience studying poetry and theology to write about the intersecting borders of art, poetry and religion.