Our State of Mind

Dr. King wrote, “Freedom is never given by the oppressor it must be demanded by the oppressed.”So, the oppressors, some of them were authors of the U.S. Constitution. The statesmen believed in the enslavement of African and other peoples. With that philosophy came the laws to enforce oppression both during the slave trade and years after.

Law and order were created to protect Caucasians from Native Americans and enslaved people. The early settlers feared the Native Americans. Native Americans who helped them survive the winters in the New World.

That lack of trust, that fear exists today. However, the fear and lack of trust is the perspective of an African American mother and her family, who might receive that call, or that visit or hear it on the 24 hours news cycle, that her unarmed child was shot and killed by police.

Well, several mothers have already received that horrible, untimely news. During #Justice4George, a conversation about racial injustice in America, hosted by Trinity A.M.E Church of Long Branch, Dr. Devereaux, senior pastor, led the ‘Say their names,’ chant.

Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Michael Bland, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd. Their lives mattered.

The turmoil in our country in recent months compelled a clarion call to protest for justice. On May 31, a Black Lives Matter march was held in Ling Branch. It was peaceful from the backdrop of happy people enjoying the amenities of our beachfront. For some, no thought of police brutality, against the backdrop of Pier Village, to the steps of the Long Branch Municipal building.

On display was a divergence of cultures and ages in the march with the common belief in humanity. The march was a first step in the acknowledgment of police brutality and its’ effect all over this country and the globe.

Lauren McCaskill, Long Branch Board of Education, spoke impassioned words inflected in her emotions, about current racial injustice.

“Our protest is the first step to create a community-based policy that reflects us.”

Her work as an activist and mentor, Lauren supported and taught students how to effective in influencing policy. She walked the talk when she participated in the Peoples Progress March with Larry Hamm in Newark.

Together these experiences led her to believe in the power of her generation, Millennials.

“I want people to understand the power and potential we have now to influence major policy changes across our nation… [it] is very valid and important. There is a lot of language in our current laws that do not create equity for our black and brown people. As future leaders, I implore you, use the access you have to our local elected officials.”

African American History

1963 – Medgar Evers, civil rights activist, NAACP Field Supervisor is assassinated in his driveway by a white supremacist

1967 – Loving v. Virginia, miscegenation laws that prohibited interracial marriages were decided unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court


1897 – William Frank Powell, a New Jersey, an educator, is named minister to Haiti.

Ms. Martin is an educator, freelance journalist, and 2008 Monmouth University Dr. King, Unsung Hero recipient. Email OSOM at ourstateofmindlb@gmail.com