The First Purge: A Letter to The Black and Brown Family

Dear Black & Brown Family,

I recently watched The First Purge (2018), and I was conflicted and convicted about a lot. Conflicted about why I haven’t made positive strides in my community yet and convicted on what I need to do to make it happen. Honestly, I had avoided watching this movie since it came out. After about 20 minutes I could already see potentially why it got a lot of bad reviews. And it was not because the content was bad either. It was actually a solid movie with a lot of solid points and views. Problem is, it was on the big screen and not just somebody tweeting or posting on Instagram.

The premise was the “New Founding Fathers of America”, a new political party had come up with a way of  helping citizens “purge” and “cleanse” themselves of their built up frustrations. Coming up with a 12 hour event in which all crimes including murder were legal. Even going as far as to offer the participants a monetary benefit for their contribution to the “study”. It was even mentioned by one of the characters that this was the government’s way of helping minorities execute themselves. One of the major undertones was why I chose this specific cover art. As minorities, we are often in chains with our backs against the wall. And although no longer physical, the chains are 100% mental as well as systematically. There is a lot stacked up against us. The concept of “for all” is riddled with the fine print that doesn’t include US. This country that we live in wasn’t “founded” with US in mind but I’ll tell you now that without US, it’ll fall faster than it took root. Since history was recorded in America, there were people made out to be heroes when in fact they were the cause of mass genocide and other unspeakable things. Songs like the Star Spangled Banner weren’t meant for people like us. In fact, most of what we know and have learned about the “founding” of America are lies; especially the one Nation under God part (President John Adams once said the government was not in any sense founded not the Christian religion).

All that aside, Black and Brown family, we have to get better at bringing and keeping the wealth back in our communities…in our homes. There are 540 billionaires in the United States of America. And of that number, five are African-American and four are Latino-American. That’s only nine out of 540. That is literally 0.016% of that group.

About two months ago, I drove through what used to be Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It made me think, why can’t we get back to this? What’s stopping us?  Before the Tulsa Race Riot (massacre), there were attorneys, dentists, doctors, real-estate agents and entrepreneurs. We put the wealth in the community.  And yes, it was ultimately stripped away but we can get it back and keep it.

Our identity as minorities isn’t rooted in what they say or think about us but in what/who we say that WE are. We can and should put and keep the opportunities in the “less than” areas. I love to support Black and Latino owned businesses. It’s essential that we do that. This is how we can begin to support, invest and educate back into not only our community but the future of the generations that will come after us.

My personal hope is to not only be a role model for those who came up like I did but to also help them with all the necessary steps to become successful beyond what they could ever imagine. That includes scholarships for underprivileged students, job fairs with opportunities to network in fields of interest and more. But in order for this to happen, it has to start with us taking a stand and putting our resources back into us. What was once taken can be obtained once again. And believe me, it’s not a takeover…it’s the beginning to our journey to true equality. And although we may not see it in our lifetimes, we can plant the seed for those who will come after us.

About the author

A Los Angeles native, AJ grew up watching sports from the age of two and his love for basketball and football never died. He started playing sports at age seven and went on through collegiate and minor league levels (local and overseas) as well. After nearly twenty years of athletics, AJ decided to hang it up and retired from minor league football in June of 2018. Since then, he has continued his love of sports by writing for the Suave Report as a sports and culture contributor as well as coaching and refereeing sports in the OKC metro area. He currently lives with his wife, Beth and daughter, Gianna in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, working as a coach and gym owner.

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