I want to bring your attention to three recent tragedies that seem to have three things in common, their race, age, and gender. They were all young, African-American males, who were attacked because of their race. Most recently seventeen year old, Jordan Russell was killed by a white man in Florida because he was playing his music too loud. Ironically another seventeen year old unarmed Trevon Martin was shot dead in February in Florida holding nothing but a can of iced tea and a pack of Skittles.
Twenty-one year old, Chavis Carter was shot in the head with his hands handcuffed behind him while in the back of a police car in Arkansas in August. While the police say that he committed suicide, the evidence does not support how the left-handed Chavis shot himself with his right hand while handcuffed. He was with two friends when the police apprehended him. They were let go. They just happened to be white. He was arrested for giving a false name and reports say he had $1o worth of marijuana on him. Some states have now made that legal, but too late for this young man is dead.
How much is the life of a black child worth? These stories are not isolated cases. There are others. But it seems the frequency or severity of these types of atrocities do not faze people anymore. They just shake their heads and go back to their regularly scheduled programming. Few will even comment and show that they care or feel anything. I empathize with the mothers who are mourning their children today. Today I think about those lives changed forever or snuffed out entirely and I try to make sense out of senseless brutality, hatred, and cruelty. I appease my own conscience by shining the light on these cruel injustices so that their pain was not in vain and that they are not forgotten. After that, I too shake my head and think, what now?
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.
(Quote by Martin Niemoller)
I’m Barbara Talley, The Poet who speaks and inspires. To find more about me, check out my promo sheet or visit my website.