How many more names?

These statistics you see are from 1999-2011. We haven’t made progress. We’ve regressed. 

It’s another day that I was fortunate to wake up in my own bed with my wife sleeping soundly next to me. But it’s also another day, another bloody headline splashed across our news. Say a prayer, send a vibe, speak it into existence – no matter your perception of your higher power – just do it with intention. Meditate, pray, think, put something in motion not only for the “good” person, but the “bad” person, the bystander, the silent, the oppressed, the hopeful, the scared, the confused. Say something positive to anyone in this world so full of hate and just put some love back in. 

I opened my eyes this morning and it was unfortunately later than normal. Traffic has been roigo and it’s given me too much time to think. My heart aches. My morning was so I dreamt of names and names and names and they weren’t segregated. They were mixed in. People in blue and people of color alike. There are both, you know, people of color who DO protect their brothers and sisters of all colors. 

Why can’t we use this outrage to energize a movement? Why can’t we protect one another? Why can’t we WAKE UP and admit that our black and brown brothers and sisters are continuing to be oppressed, gunned down, and lynched in 2016!!!! And it is because our police forces have been morphed into mini militias that unfortunately get tainted by power hungry, ill-hearted people.  

I’ve worked in facilities that taint genres of people because of their skin color. I’ve worked in facilities BUILT to remove people of color from society. We are a racist society. We always have been scared of people who don’t look like us, act like us, pray like us and instead of using that fear to fuel curiousity, we fuel a fire of hate and rejection. I’ve worked in facilities where officers were told to not physically subdue a hostile inmate. Ease up on force. Yeah, easing up got two very good people, one behind bars and the other locking those bars, in an altercation that ended in injury. My client was enraged and in crisis, wielding a weapon. My friend, and fellow officers, were asked to be more hands off. 

My friend still hasn’t recovered his injuries. My client still isn’t out of jail and won’t be for 30 more years.  

For the love of everything sacred in this world…work together to put an end to this racist and hostile police state we live in. America’s beginnings soaked in racism continue to perpetuate this cycle. 

This doesn’t have to go down like this. Please don’t let it go down like this. 

#loveconquershate

Tamir – As 12 year olds do…

When I was little, I used to run around my neighborhood with toy guns – water guns, cap guns, wimpy bb guns. I used to shoottamir plastic BBs with my friends-a scraggly crew consisting of 2 little white boys (brothers, if I remember correctly) that were always so dirty from full spring days of tackle football, a black kid with a gap between his front teeth but a nice smile, a freckly tow headed pale girl who helped me navigate the neighborhood, and my best friend at the time would sometimes make an appearance when she was spending time with her dad.  There was a smattering of brothers and sisters older and younger than us that clung on the outskirts of our little group, whether to wrestle with us when we did something wrong, or to point us in the “right direction.”   I felt like we had our own little ecosystem and honestly didn’t think much went on outside our world.  I didn’t pay attention to the cars that drove by and I didn’t wonder what they thought – were we a danger to our community? No. Did we look like it at times? I’m sure.

We played football, we raced bicycles, we drank kool-aid, we played hide and seek, told ghost stories in the old woods, and caught crawdads behind our house, played tag, chased one another around with the BBguns that didn’t even sting when they hit you.

At times we would sit around and wait for one another. Sometimes with BBgun in hand, practice shooting the different imaginary mind made targets around us.  I’d even go as far as to say that I probably pointed it at people driving by, crouched down in the grass being as incognito as possible. Pretending. Alone and pretending, as 12 year olds do.

Like Tamir Rice was doing. Maybe he was alone. Maybe he was waiting for his friends, as 12 year olds do.   As I did.  As many kids do.  Children now have airsoft guns, that look a lot like real guns but so did ours back then.  They have BBguns.  They play with and against one another.  They shoot at targets alone.   What’s changed?

Despite time changing throughout the years (although in this  I must admit I’ve seen kids be so enveloped in the games they are playing that they forget the reality around them – as in, stop playing that game and listen to me teach you things!!), I still see kids playing outside. Cops and robbers. Good guys and bad guys.  Pretending. Playing. As 12 year olds do.  As Tamir Rice was doing, sitting on the playground.

The difference? I was a white kid living in a low to middle class neighborhood.  He’s a black kid.  A black CHILD, age 12, with an air-soft gun.  Maybe he didn’t have parents who told him to not point it at people, maybe that would make things different, maybe not.  Hell, as an adult I’ve rolled around in the leaves hiding from my nephews in Tennessee pretending to shoot things at one another.

It makes me sick that Tamir was killed not just for being a child, but mainly for being black.