I’ve learned an enormous lesson over the past month and wanted to take a few minutes to share it with you. In some ways, the deepest, most essential life lessons are rooted in a truth you already had some understanding of – but needed an epiphany or experience to help you fully understand. What I’m about to tell you is one of those lessons.
Here it goes…
We have to do for ourselves. We have to make our own way. As a people, so much of what we fight for, march for, plead for, beg for – is for other people to do something for us that they clearly don’t want to do. And what happens is that we end up distraught and even depressed because our pain and our protests go ignored.
I have two quick stories I wanna share with you that have helped me understand the power of taking some of our problems into our own hands, but I want to first be clear on something. We are taxpayers. We pay billions of dollars in local, state, and federal taxes. We have every right to petition this government to represent us. We built this country. Our culture and energy make this country move to this very day. So I am not saying – stop expecting the government that we fund to represent us – I am saying that sometimes our quickest path to success is going to be going around the government to produce our own solutions to our most essential problems.
Let me give you two examples.
At about 3am on yesterday morning – after five days of working around the clock to identify another white supremacist from Charlottesville, Virginia who was filmed randomly walking right up to a woman and punching her square in the face with as much power as he could, we found him. Me and a scrappy team of online volunteers scoured every database, looked through hundreds of photos, searched court records, jail records, arrest histories, hate crime databases, and more until we found 38 year Dennis Lloyd Mothersbaugh – a lifelong skinhead with dozens of arrests and convictions for assaults and hate crimes in three different states.
Before we announced his identity, which we actually discovered four days ago, but just could not confirm, we compiled overwhelming evidence that he was the man caught assaulting a woman in Charlottesville. In the end, it was an interview he did with a Swedish reporter all the way back in 2011 that sealed the deal. In the interview, which we had to translate from Swedish, the reporter described a one of a kind tattoo he has on the back of his head. It was a smoking gun for us.
Yesterday afternoon we turned over all of our evidence to local police in Charlottesville, to the local police in his hometown of North Vernon, Indiana, and to federal authorities – and we expect him to be charged an arrested as soon as today.
Here’s what I know – the local, state, and federal authorities had no intentions on finding this man. We had to do it ourselves – which is a shame and should not be the case – but sometimes we have to accept the world for what it is and take matters into our own hands. That’s how we also found two of the six men who assaulted the young brother, Deandre Harris, in Charlottesville, as well. Literally – the only two people who have been identified and arrested are the people we found and tracked down our damn selves. The others are still at large, but we just announced a reward fund that you can donate to help us find them and any other white supremacists who may choose to attack us.
If insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – here is what I know – we have to pursue justice differently. We can’t keep doing what we’ve always been doing.
Shifting gears for a minute, I want to thank all of our listeners for not only giving so generously to the Black America Relief Fund, but you gave nearly $3 million in aid for people affected by Hurricanes Harvey & Irma through the Amazon wishlists we shared – which allowed us to go straight into our own communities to give people exactly what they needed far faster than the government or Red Cross will ever do.
Listen – let’s stop giving to the Red Cross. Period. When disaster strikes our communities – we have to take matters into our own hands, assess the damages, and provide for our people ourselves. I think I’ve seen a pivot in disaster relief happen over these past few weeks where people want to do just that – find out how to cut the middleman – and give directly to people who need it the most – and that’s progress.
I’ll close with this thought – we often mistake our potential for our power. They aren’t one in the same. We have enormous potential, but it isn’t power until we organize and use it.
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Shaun King: Taking Justice And Disaster Relief Into Our Own Hands was originally published on blackamericaweb.com