I am angry. Did you know who Oscar Grant was? Did you know who Adolph Grimes III was? If not, this is part of why I am angry.
This year, on New Year’s Day, Oscar Grant was riding on the train after a New Year’s Eve celebration. Bay Area Rapid Transit officers got a report that there was an altercation on the train. Several young people were forced to exit the train. Some were handcuffed, some were not. 22 year old Oscar Grant was handcuffed and he was restrained by force. An officer pinned him to the ground, placing his knee on Grant’s neck. Another officer, Johannes Mehserle, shot Grant in the back. The bullet went through his back, ricocheted on the ground and through his lung, killing him. Angry yet?
22 year old Adolph Grimes was visiting his family on New Year’s Eve in New Orleans. He drove quickly to make it there by the countdown. His father said he made it with “a second to spare.” Three hours later, outside of his home, he was shot at 48 times and hit 14 times by 9 plainclothes undercover drug task force officers. The police say Grimes shot at them first. And if that’s true, what would they expect a man to do if he was being approached by 9 suspicious people at 3 in the morning in the nation’s murder capitol??
So this is why I am angry. Our men, and sometimes even our women, are being wiped out by the police and these so-called authority figures, and it seems as if no one cares. When it’s black on black crime, you know about it. It’s on the news, in the paper, and on the radio. When it’s police brutality, there’s a little blurb running under the headline news or a piece of an article in the paper. And then when we do know about it, we don’t tell anybody. We say, “Damn, that’s messed up,” and keep it moving, as if that’s just something that happens everyday. Cornell West said, “Who wants to be well-adjusted to injustice? What kind of human being do you want to be?” I don’t want us to be “well-adjusted” to these constant injustices. I don’t want us to think we can’t do anything about it. I don’t want us to feel like nothing can be done.
When I think about police brutality, I equate it to lynching. Police brutality is modern day lynching. Think about it. Men were lynched for no reason at all. Simply because of their skin color. Because they “fit the description.” Because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The people responsible for the lynching were protected by the law and the government. Is this not what is happening today? These officers are being put on paid leaves, asked to resign, not formally charged and/or are being acquitted. How long are we going to sit back and watch our people be brutalized, tortured, and murdered? How long will this vicious cycle continue? It’s been too long. If we don’t stand up now, we’ll never be safe.
So yes, I am angry. But what am I going to do about? I want to yell, scream, kick shit around, break windows, hit somebody. But what will that do? Not a damn thing. Maybe get me arrested or worse. So I’m going to talk about this. I want there to be discussions about this. I want to raise awareness about what’s happening to us. I want to PEACEFULLY PROTEST the injustices that are going on. Not riot, peacefully protest. There are people protesting the killings in Gaza. We need to protest the killings that are going on right here. So I’m writing this note to get people involved. If you have ideas on how we can make a difference, please share them. If you just want to talk, share that too. Obama talked about change and moral responsibility. Well it’s time we changed what we think we are morally responsible for. We are responsible for EACH OTHER. My son is four years old. In less than 10 years, he’ll be a teenager. I fear for him if he ever comes in contact with the police. And it shouldn't be that way. If I don’t do something now, in 10 years, those fears may be materialized. It’s a cycle that seems to just keep getting worse. Remember Rodney King? Almost twenty years later, we go from being beaten to be MURDERED. What will it be like another ten years from now??
“The revolution has always been in the hands of the young. The young always inherit the revolution.” –Huey P. Newton
“A fully functional multiracial society cannot be achieved without a sense of history and open, honest dialogue.” –Cornell West