Dear White Brothers and Sisters:
Look at Ahmaud with his mom, Wanda—the young man full of life—the young woman full of mother love. It took me awhile to watch the video. Have you seen it? Ahmaud desperately trying to get away after the gun went off, running to get back to that place only a few moments before he was mortally wounded, falling headlong into the middle of the road—finished. For the love of God how long will we allow this outrageous injustice to continue!
After Trayvon was killed, I was attending a blood drive at a predominately black school, and passed a number of children who openly scowled at me in contempt. I felt uncomfortable. But I understood. It wasn’t fair but it was understandable. One young girl gave me a different look—it was as if she was deeply disappointed and ashamed for me, as if I had the power to do something but had done nothing. That look hurt me then and the memory haunts me now.
Last night I tuned in to The Konnected Radio Station on Facebook, where my friend, author Renee Brown, aka Grandma Polly & the K.R.E.W, hosts racially diverse young people, in a discussion group. Grandma Polly asked the panel of teens to express themselves on the killing of Ahmaud. The answers were remarkably articulate and surprisingly free of anger. One boy, maybe sixteen years old, ten years younger than Ahmaud, seemed puzzled by the question, “What do you think about it?” Grandma Polly asked. The boy appeared to struggle for words but finally revealed the source of what confused him about the question, “It’s just … the way it is,” he said. Can you imagine? It’s a fact of life to this boy! Nothing more complex than that. He had already resigned himself to a society where young black men, without due process, can become open targets for men with guns, principally white men acting in authority—authority assumed or legally ordained.
To my mind, one of the problems are those laws, and how they are interpreted, that are nothing much more than licenses to embolden men to take the law in their own hands and administer judgment on the spot with guns. In Georgia, where Ahmaud was killed, there are three laws that could be argued in court that legally justified his execution. That is wrong! We must connect with our elected representatives. There must be legislation. Modifications and nullifications of these laws. The penalties must be severe for the perpetrators. For the killers and those in authority who allow, aid, and abet them. Like the authorities in Glynn County, GA who appear to have sat on the case until the Ahmaud video emerged. They, too, must be held responsible and face punishment. For perverting justice while occupying seats of power intended to administer justice for all—including black men.
Do you know your elected leaders and how to contact them? Are you aware of any ‘stand your ground’ laws in your area? We must convey to our elected officials that executing unarmed black men in the streets, without due process, by men with authority or who assume authority, because of their fear and prejudice, will no longer be tolerated without severe penalties—and we must be persevering about it.
This must stop, don’t you agree? For the love of God how long can we continue to allow this to go on?