I am tired. I AM TIRED! I shouldn’t have to be tired when I haven’t started living yet. I am still young, I have a bright future, but yet, I am tired. The murders of Black lives make me tired. The racial injustice makes me tired. The fact that we are in this constant cycle makes me tired. We are in a time where we need to stop talking the talk and need to start walking the walk. I am a Black man from Lawrence, Mass. I grew up in the Beacon Projects and was a part of the Lawrence Public School system. These things led me to count myself out at an early age. I’ve always heard the stats saying that by the time a Black man turned 18, he should have dropped out of school, be on the street selling drugs, in jail, or dead. I never saw a person that looked like me doing anything successfully, yet I have been exposed to diversity my entire life. Seeing mostly Whites, Hispanics and Asians, but no Blacks.
I call upon anyone that considers themselves an ally to rise up and take action for the Black community.
After graduating from Lawrence High School as part of the Humanities, Leadership and Development academy back in 2012, I unwillingly made my way to Middlesex Community College (spoiler alert, I loved it here). The very first Black man in leadership – outside of my family, of course – that I came in contact with was my advisor and now mentor, Reggie Nichols, MCC’s Assistant Director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action Officer. He was the very first Black man I have come to know that has played a significant part in where I am today. His raw passion for the students and connecting it to Hip Hop culture was something I had never seen before in my life. Hearing his background helped me to realize that being Black was ok. We are in a time where we witness murder right before our eyes. Mr. George Floyd’s life was taken too soon and with everything I have been seeing through the news, social media and actions that are taking place around the nation, in the words of my grandmother, “Enough is enough and too much stinks!” Change needs to happen! The time is NOW!
Being able to come back to MCC to be a part of the “Demonstration of Antiracism: In Honor of George Floyd,” I found it such an honor to be able to come to a space where I know diversity is welcomed. I like to say that MCC is the most diverse community college I have ever known. Seeing the administration, staff, faculty and students unite as one shows me that change is happening. It has been five years since I graduated from this amazing institution and I implore all that reads this to get involved. Black people are tired of being a broken record and constantly have to educate our white counterparts on what it means to be Black. Training is nice, but where is the accountability? I call upon anyone that considers themselves an ally to rise up and take action for the Black community.
If you thought that you were going to read this entire piece without a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quote, you thought wrong. Dr. King shared, “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” So, I ask this question, why are you afraid? Why are you not working with one another to make a change? The one part in his “I Have A Dream” speech that sticks out to me is “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” So, I say this with my chest, “My name is Danzel Jones. I AM BLACK AND I AM PROUD! BLACK LIVES MATTER! NO JUSTICE NO PEACE! ALL LIVES CAN’T MATTER UNTIL BLACK LIVES MATTER!”