• Prime Minister J

Kill That Noise

Updated: Jan 2

I grew up in 'the projects' in Auburn, Alabama. As a boy, I ran all up and down North Donahue. 'The projects' was our home base, so to speak. The place that we called 'the projects' was listed under Public Housing- a form of housing tenure in which the property is usually owned by a government authority, either central or local. In my experience, 'projects' are places where an unbalanced government projects poverty onto the people. truth be told, 'the hood' and 'the projects' have both become synonymous with poverty and violence

Contrary to popular belief, there was, and is, some good in the hood. Like everyone else, we wanted and desired more for ourselves. We did ok with the knowledge we had. We were financially illiterate and civically unengaged; we had no external power. We didn't know much about finances but we knew that we needed money to pay bills and we needed it quickly. Did we want to be unified, hold hands and sing kumbaya? Sounds fun (pre-covid); although, It's hard to focus on unity and community togetherness when rent is past due or your power is turned off.

Living in 'the hood' meant a lack of resources for us. The lack of resources for communal activities left us with few options for safe and structured fun. So, for us, we had to make something happen. The options of church, running the streets, and after-school programs got old. Our weekends forced us to be creative. And, whenever you take a crowd and mix in some creativity, you will always have noise.

Noise is the one thing you can count on having in the hood on the weekend. In the projects, there were usually three types of noise.

One type of noise was coming from folks simply having a good time-Cards shufflin', dominoes slammin' and music jammin'.

Another type of noise was the train and traffic riding by - the traffic coming through to ruin the street fun and the train blowing by - reminding you of what side of the track you're on.

Then, there's the noise that's seemingly unavoidable- the noise of violence- The Noise: an argument that became physical or a disagreement that went left. Whether it's a family feud or a spontaneous stare-off, too often, it ends with violent noise.

The hood not only a place where poverty looms but violence is there as well. Wherever you see poverty , you will soon see the presence of violence.

Some call the violence a problem - I say its a symptom.

saying that violence is a problem in black and poor communities would suggest that the violence is solely a result of character. I Am suggesting that the violence is not a problem but a symptom- greatly the result of the overall condition[s] that we have lived under.

The symptoms of violence in our communities is one that every community dealing with poverty will face to some degree. However, no one has the history in America that Black People have. This makes our issues unique.

We were pushed into a pit; a pit with the perfect conditions; conditions that cause us to harm ourselves and real quick to harm others that look like us. We face the daily trials of living life while black, as well as carrying the scars of a past, but still so fresh, slavery.

Michael J. Halloran (La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) says that the impact of slavery was a significant trauma to black people, which was carried forward through successive generations; providing an explanation of their current anxiety-related conditions, poor health, and maladaptive behaviors. While the language may sound offensive the point is clear: We are hurting.

We may never fully understand the crippling effects that slavery, systematic racism, and systemic oppression has had on us, as black people, living in community together. The negative socio-economic impacts that white Supremacy has had on Black communities are tremendous. Redlining, gentrification, and other racist practices keep black communities impoverished. Alabama is arguably one of the most conservative and anti-progressive states. Alabama also has 14 counties - all of them in the Black Belt - that have a poverty rate higher than 25 percent! (

We are hurting.

A people cannot experience slavery, racism and poverty and not be injured.

We've experienced hurt at the hands of those in power. Oppressive systems ran by oppressive people are what created the conditions that birthed The Noise. The noise of violence has sounded off for far too long. We greatly add to The Noise when We fail to find effective ways to resolve conflict with one another. Our disagreements and confrontations do not have to end violently.

We live a stressful life in America as black folks. We are under the constant pressure of what society is projecting on to Us. As a result, We as individuals become frustrated and when a conflict arises, We project that frustration on to our brother or sister. Yeah, that's Who and What We are: BROTHERS & SISTERS.

Whether You like it or not, it's the truth, family! We don't treat each other like family though, because we’re hurting.


Black Man, Black Woman, Black Child: WE MUST HEAL.

I understand that in order for Us to heal completely as a people We'll have to organize, strategize and mobilize on several fronts. Say less. I get it. All that I am saying in this moment, is that we have to recognize that We as black people are hurting and projecting that hurt on to each other, instead of seeking to heal one another. We can't control how other folks view Us and treat Our communities. What We can control is how We see and treat one another. We can heal. We must heal.

The gifted activist, Monifa Akosua, once said,

"Our community still needs healing. Hurt people hurt people. Someone who pulls the trigger is extremely hurt. That person is dealing with suffering and trauma. No one can kill and just be OK."

Monifa Akosua is a community organizer and healer from Richmond, California, where she holds healing circles for women dealing with postpartum depression and the loss of their sons to gun violence. Sister Akosua and the women in her circles have experienced the pain and deep hurt caused by violent noise. These sisters realize the need for safe spaces of healing. As we seek to create safe places of healing and restoration, let's start with some practical ways on how we should deal with each other, heal with each other and resolve conflict. Let's aim to reduce and eliminate the violent noise.

What we will do, over the next few weeks, is give you some keys for Conflict Resolution. We like to call them “Tools To Kill That Noise!”

You down???

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