As cities across the country have mobilized massive street protests over police violence and misconduct, a familiar question has been raised by their opponents: Why does violence within the Black community garner less concern than police violence?
“When you shoot somebody, that’s not the only person that you’re killing.”
— Nona Gaye, Marvin Gaye’s daughter, testifying after his death
I attended a neighborhood meeting on racism. Afterward I mentioned the comments I heard in that meeting regarding law enforcement to one of our law enforcement officials. “It’s hopeless,” he said when I conveyed the negative comments from the seminar, “when that’s how they feel about us.”
So I stepped out from behind his hopelessness and asked to meet with another public relations representative from the local police department to see what could be and/or what is being done about this impasse between the electorate and their peace officers. Broad publicity has been given to the cases of O. J. Simpson, Rodney King, and Henry Louis Gates (and his meeting with President Obama) when each of these celebrities of color had run-ins with the law. Another famed activist, Angela Davis, is a proponent for the rights of inmates and speaks out on prisons as factories that house an inordinate number of young Black men compared to their ratio in the American population. Continue Reading →
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African American children continue to die, and with them our spirits
On Christmas day, December 25, 2011, three-year-old Terrell Mayes, Jr. enjoyed Christmas and the love and warmth of his family. By the late evening of December 26, Terrell Mayes, Jr. was dead, the victim of the continuous, senseless violence that is tearing at the soul of our city. By Wednesday, December 28, politicians were trying to put a favorable twist on this tragic story. But there is no twist, no mirage, no Madison Avenue-driven theme, no so-called “closure.” Death is irreversible. And at three years of age, this child’s death will haunt family, friends and community for the rest of our lives. Continue Reading →