A Day of Lament ...

By Mark Charles 6-21-2015
Photo of man praying
Man praying, Esin Deniz/Shutterstock.com

Today I lament, I mourn over the life of each and every person who was violently taken in Charleston, S.C.

I lament that a 5-year-old child was robbed of her innocence and forced to "play" dead in order to survive. I lament that today, the confederate flag is still flying in South Carolina. I lament the roots of dehumanization that exist within the founding documents of the United States of America: in our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and our Supreme Court case precedents. I lament that our nation continues to celebrate its racist foundations with holidays like Columbus Day, sports mascots like the Washington Redsk*ns, and by picturing faces like Andrew Jackson's on our currency.

I lament the deaths of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and countless others. I lament the words of our political candidates who promise to lead America back to its former "greatness," ignorant of the fact that much of America's "greatness" was built on the exploitation and dehumanization of its people of color. I lament that today the dominant culture in America is in shock because in the city of Charleston, one person committed a single evil and heinous act of violence, while minority communities throughout the country are bracing themselves because the horrors of the past 500 years are continuing into their lifetime.

I lament with every person and community, throughout the history of this nation, who, due to the color of his or her skin, had to endure marginalization, silence, discrimination, beatings, lynching, cultural genocide, boarding schools, internment camps, mass incarceration, broken treaties, stolen lands, murder, slavery, and discovery.

Today I lament that the United States of America does not share a common memory and therefore is incapable of experiencing true community.

Mark Charles is a speaker, writer, and consultant who recently moved to Washington DC from the Navajo Reservation. He is a writer for Native News Online and the author of the popular blog " Reflections from the Hogan."

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