[Editor's Note: I saw pieces of the following letter as Megan wrote it and shared excerpts on her Twitter feed. I reached out in hopes she would be willing to share the letter with our readers before sending it off. She agreed, and hopes others will be inspired to send similar letters sharing their feelings on what has been happening to the black community.]
Greetings President Barack Obama,
I wish this were not a letter I was sending so close to the end of your presidency, as I do not have faith in either prospective presidential candidate to intervene with this epidemic of genocide on the African American community. In December 1962, Bayard Rustin and A. Phillip Randolph began planning the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Unfortunately, there is still a large community that suffers from the issue they planned to address, but in 2016 there is another problem that must be eradicated. I am writing this letter in hopes that I may receive direction on the necessary steps to organize the March On Washington 2016. I know that John F. Kennedy stated his opposition to the march and it still commenced, therefore I will not back down from carrying out the dire process of organizing this event.
- Megan Wolford
Slavery was abolished in 1865 and approximately 15 years later Jim Crow laws were enforced to inflict terror and submission in African Americans. The laws were enforced openly and spanned well into the 1970's as so many discriminating laws had to be dismantled to give African-Americans and other minorities equal rights and protection under the law. I am sure you are well aware of this travesty. Throughout each era of systematic racism predominately African American organizations were created for multiple purposes to serve the struggling black community, struggling mentally, emotionally and financially. That racism still prevails is a slap in the face to people who wholeheartedly interact with pure hearts and, most importantly, to all the people that died and fought for our equal protection under the law.
President Obama, it is daunting and tiresome to feel helpless against the disregard of black life in this country as a black woman. I have not recovered from any officer-involved shooting that in the age of social media is available for the world to see within seconds. Each time it feels like my heart is being ripped from my chest. With each incident I recall Emmet Till's murderers going free, George Zimmerman being acquitted, Darren Wilson not being indicted for the cold-blooded murder of Michael Brown, the officers that beat Rodney King getting off, and the countless amount of murderers that did not blink twice after they hung my ancestors from trees and left them for public display and ridicule.
There are many forms of protest and in context it is hard to figure out which form is necessary in each social revolution. People are emotional; they are filled with anger, hurt, self-doubt, helplessness and fear. I am not afraid. I am not afraid to stand up for myself and anyone else who needs me as a vessel. I graduated from North Carolina A&T State University and we have a history of opposing the powers that be to demand respect, equality and protection. I want to unite this country, which is in mourning, and structure us to be a vehicle of social reconstruction. I believe Americans have become too comfortable with the way we live our lives and that we do not understand the sacrifice it takes for a social revolution. People think about their jobs and how they will take off work or how seeing people stand up for themselves will affect their children. I am sorry Mr. President; one has to inflict discomfort for efforts of change to be effective. I was raised by a mother who taught me the value of human life regardless of who it is. My heart mourns for so many different things, but over the past three years this epidemic has been picking away at my mind like petals of a dying flower.
It is unfair and it is wrong and I am tired of our government not intervening in situations that call for the reformation of people's minds as it pertains to their ability to harm the well-being of others. That notion can be applied to many situations that this government ignores. There is racism everywhere and your presidency did not lessen nor eliminate that notion. There is clear statistical and visual data that proves that African Americans are not treated equally by law enforcement agencies and the virus causing this prejudice must be combated. We have the right as American citizens to protest injustice.
Law enforcement officials are in clear need of training that delegates what a threat actually is versus what is perceived. The perception of African Americans by non-people of color is clearly skewed, therefore merely existing as black men and women is detected as a threat. This MUST be addressed. There are thousands of police forces across the country but it is possible that each one be addressed — just as there is documentation for each legal citizen in this country — in this process of reformation. How barbaric is it to take an innocent person's life while knowing you are recording it? It is not the job of the police to hand down punishment; that is why different branches of the government were established. If someone is innocent until proven guilty, why are police taking away due process? It is a violation of civil rights.
To conclude, I hope that this letter reaches you and can give you a clear understanding of the urgency needed to address and eliminate this plague from our country. The state of Georgia just allowed the Ku Klux Klan, an openly hate based group, to adopt a highway. On Tuesday, I had a conversation with a coworker who told me driving across the country helps Americans to understand how free we are, that we can drive without having to stop at checkpoints, or be killed because we are in a war zone. What message do you think it sends to African Americans each time they pass the sign that reads "Highway adopted by Ku Klux Klan?" Better yet, why is the Ku Klux Klan allowed to exist? The First Amendment should not protect evil. They are an established hate group. People to try to juxtapose the KKK with the Black Panthers, but like every black organization created, it was formed for our survival and sustainability, not hate.
Even after your presidency, it is imperative we have a respected voice in the community that actually cares about us and what is happening. The majority of politicians cannot empathize with us, nor do they seem to want to do anything about this issue. I am pleading with you on behalf of my culture, my family, my friends and anyone else traumatized and victimized by this plague to help us. We need your help. You campaigned with "Change You Can Believe In" and you cannot leave the Oval Office knowing this wound was left open to fester and rot.
Please Help Us,
Megan Devon Wolford
Megan Wolford has lived between Charlotte and Greensboro all her life and is preparing to leave for NYU in the fall to earn her Masters Degree in Music Business. She holds a Psychology degree from North Carolina A&T State University. Her goal is to unite as many communities possible to come together to become the change we believe in.