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Ferguson – Before You Judge: Consider the History and the Circumstances

Posted on 27 November 2014 by mdepeine

First of all, I want to say to Michael Brown’s parents, his family and friends, I am sorry that you have not been accorded the same treatment that many whites and people of privilege have received in America.  I am sorry for the loss of your son, Michael Brown.  I am sorry you have had to endure the same pain that many other black parents in various parts of America have endured and continue to endure.  Your pain has no bound.  No one can tell you how to feel, in general, and they certainly can’t tell you how to feel now.  This is a very tragic event!  This was not an exercise of the “American justice system at work.”  This loss for you, the Brown Family, was an example, too often seen in America, of the devaluation of black people and other people of color.

While I don’t agree with the looting and violence that have erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, I can understand what people may be feeling.  There are those who are angry and have no constructive way to channel that anger.  There are those who are angry and have just said, “I don’t care, I’m going to do something that makes me feel a little relief.”  I put that very mildly.  There are those who feel very oppressed and just want to “push back” in some fashion.  They are not content with being told, “Despite the fact that you feel wronged, violated, minimized, marginalized, disenfranchised, devalued, helpless, discriminated against, feel like a second class citizen, wrongly judged because of your color, just ‘suck it up’ and be happy that we let you live in America.’”  So rather, than accept such an unfair, and unjust existence, many have decided to react.  There are also those in Ferguson, like any other community and people, who are just opportunists; they just want to take advantage of the moment and they seize the opportunity to get some “free stuff.”

Some, as usual, will make comments like, “Look at them, you see why they get killed.”  Others will say, “They’re just looking for ways to steal and to destroy their own community.”  Still, others will say, “Why should they get any justice, they don’t even know how to control themselves?”  But, who will stop and have empathy for the long and painful history that clearly “states” that a black person’s life is not that important?  Who will stop and actually put themselves in the shoes of black parents who fear that their child could be the next Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, and the long list of young men and women of color who were killed in the name of “law enforcement” because they “looked” a certain way, or evoked some “feelings” in the killer’s psyche?

Since the time of Jim Crow, where America attempted to see black people and people of color as “equal,” this issue has been a well-known fact.  The fact: arrange the laws and justice proceedings so that the death of a black person can be justified through the court system.  What party are these law enforcement individuals having when they realize that they are “essentially untouchable” when it comes to the death of unarmed black people?

I think in the recent case of Trayvon Martin it was too much to ask the Florida prosecutors to prosecute “their own.”  A prosecutor, in any city or state, works closely, every day with the police.  They look for every angle to convict those people (black, white, brown, etc.) who have been arrested.  They want their arrests to “stick.”  They don’t want to prosecute any cases that will be thrown out in court.  In the case of Michael Brown, the same applied.  Why would the prosecutor do everything possible to push a case against the man he has been so faithfully working with, to prosecute the accused?  Now, all of the sudden, we expect this same prosecutor who hung out with the police, had drinks, went to family functions, sports events, weddings, to “turn on their buddies?”  That is not possible, in any universe.  It is not a realistic process.  Any hopes of objectivity would be gone.  It only works on television.  It will never work in real life.

The laws must be changed!  The proceedings must be changed also.  We must push for laws that define the limits of “force” used against any non-police individual.  At the very least, in my opinion, “excessive force” is when you shoot and strike an unarmed individual more than two (2) times.  If we were to decide that “excessive force” was used, then, there would need to be prosecution of the law enforcement officer, regardless of color, stature, or tenure.  We may call that law, The Lethal and Excessive Force Law.  Furthermore, the prosecution CANNOT involve any individual in the local government.  It needs to be headed and conducted by an independent team who works in the interest of the citizens, residents, like an oversight department similar to internal affairs.  As I stated earlier, using the regular prosecutor is not realistic, and it is unfair to put that person in that position.  Even the best-intentioned prosecutor would have a huge amount of conflict trying to prosecute “his own teammate.”  So there needs to be different laws about excessive force and different proceedings in order to have a true prosecution of any officer who violates the excessive force laws.

Towns like Ferguson need to also organize and vote out any public officials who do not want to protect and serve them.  After all, they are paying taxes to keep these people employed.  They pay for their vacations, cushy retirements, uniforms, guns, squad cars, tasers, bullets, and the perks that come with being a law enforcement individual.  Each community that sees that the leaders are not acting in their best interest must organize to root them out.  I also know that those in these positions will tend to push back and try to squash efforts for change.  But the community must organize and work, as one, to bring about the change.  Don’t wait for another shooting to organize; take them out of office before they use the guns, cars, uniforms you supplied them with, to kill you and your children on the streets.  Remind them that, by law, you are to be protected and served.  If they can’t execute that job in a legal, respectful and humane manner, then they need to be fired!

If the chief of police is callous, apathetic and indifferent about the welfare of the people in the community, then he or she needs to be trained to see his or her role differently.  If that does not work, then that individual needs to be replaced with someone who will show cultural sensitivity and take on the role of a guardian for the people in the community.  We must be vigilant to change the tone of the relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.  Once the tone of law enforcement becomes one of “us against them” there is a BIG problem.

In education, we hear terms like “cultural sensitivity,” “differentiation,” “inclusion,” “anti bullying,” and others.  These terms have gained popularity and acceptance because teachers are being trained to consider and accept the differences that exist in the classroom among students.  It is not “one size fits all.”  The same methods don’t work for everybody.  A teacher should not just teach from his or her cultural perspective.  A teacher should be willing to connect with his or her students using the student’s culture and background as a reference point.  Also, a teacher should not look down, ignore, or minimize the students who are “different” from him or her.  This fosters “safe classrooms.”  We see banners in many schools that say things like “Everybody counts!”  We need to transfer a lot of that awareness to the police departments in America.

Police departments, all over America, need to be brought into the twenty-first century, like education professionals are being trained to recognize cultural bias and the need to not impose their culture on their students, but be willing to accept the differences and learn how to work for the good of the individual.  The “us against them” mentality that exists in communities like Ferguson must be challenged and eradicated.  That is a lethal mixture for continued and repeated disaster.

Again, I want to say, I’m very sorry to see the pain that Michael Brown’s family has endured and must continue to endure.  Many in Ferguson and throughout the United States are hurting right now.  We all must demand change.  We all must learn and practice the lost art of EMPATHY.  Excessive force laws must be implemented and new proceedings must be developed to prosecute those who break those laws and disregard the needs of the communities they are to serve.  All communities like those of Ferguson must push to get law enforcement leaders and individuals who will look out for their interests; they should be protected and served, not prejudged and executed on the spot.

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Not Guilty Verdict for George Zimmerman? Trayvon’s Murderer is Free to go…

Posted on 13 July 2013 by mdepeine

Many in America feel helpless and know in their hearts that a great injustice has been done. An innocent black young man was killed as he walked in what is considered the most “free nation” in the world. Trayvon’s life was cut short because someone (George Zimmerman) was convinced that he was a “criminal.” Trayvon was clearly profiled. Zimmerman did not follow the direction of the police when he was told to stop pursuing the teen. Trayvon’s parents have lost their son and now they have also lost the case to get justice in the American (via Florida) court system. As The Florida State Attorney (Angela Corey) spoke she had a smile on her face in many instances. It didn’t seem to register to her that the people she represented were experiencing another very painful moment in reference to their son’s death and murder? Angela answered the questions with a sense of detachment and she was almost glib. To me it seemed that this was “just another” procedure, nothing more. The prosecutor and especially, the assistant prosecutor clearly identified with the victims. That may be a big problem with our “justice” system; in some cases (like this one) the law is the law! In other cases those who represent the victims genuinely identify with the pain of the crime inflicted and they also transfer that sense of human emotion and value of life to the jury. Without that connection and transfer, the “law and the process” wins, but the victims are almost always the losers. The attorney General’s press conference was more about applauding the “Florida” system than it was about the anguish and lost the victims experienced. It bothers me when people glory in their system when that system favors only a portion of the population. We must do more and we must expect more.

 

Isaiah 58:6

 

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:

to loose the chains of injustice

and untie the cords of the yoke,

to set the oppressed free

and break every yoke?

 

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Trayvon Martin’s Life Was Unfairly Taken Abruptly and Now What?

Posted on 06 July 2013 by mdepeine

I have not watched much of the Trayvon Martin case since it began.  I saw a little of the testimony of one of the main witnesses, Rachel Jeantel.  I heard many comments about her possible effectiveness or ineffectiveness in helping the prosecution.  Many seemed to doubt that she was an”appealing” witness.  It seemed that the focus was more on her physical attributes, her speech, her degree of literacy and not the fact that she was a human being who heard a friend of hers get killed almos in her “midst.”

To me, it’s scary to think that our legal system and our media seem to be more focused on the “theatrics” of a case.  If you buy into what you see and hear in this case and many other similar cases, you’ll feel like a “good witness” has to be someone who graduated with a college degree, is articulate, well-versed and hopefully, is white?  The Psychology of the courtroom drama seems to play on what Hollywood and the media would characterize as “appealing people.”  It almost makes me think that “I hope I have someone like that around if I ever get attacked; ”  I want the “best witness.”

What have we become as a people and a legal system if the primary focus is on the look and presentation and not just the facts of the matter?  It will be sad and a huge injustice if the jurors in this case are more concerned about “appearances” and “presentation” and not the real and meaningful circumstances of the case.  The bottom line is this:  An unarmed 17 year old was gunned down by a vigilante.  The vigilante, George Zimmerman, was told to stop pursuing Trayvon Martin, but he disregarded the direction he was given by the police.  As a stranger, he confronted the young man and started an altercation.  The boy felt threatened and he apparently fought for his life.  Zimmerman killed him and as the only one who is alive, he now claims it was “self defense.”

How could you claim “self defense” if you were the aggressor?  This is the question that the jurors need to keep at the center of the case!  If they cannot justify Zimmerman’s claim (I don’t see how they could) of self-defense, then they need to find him “guilty” of the crime.  Bernard Goetz (Did Trayvon Have the Right to Defend Himself? Bernard Goetz Did! | Depeine MediaWorks), in 1984, felt threatened and he responded in “self defense.”  Do you think Trayvon Martin felt threatened when he was being pursued by a grown man, in the dark, whom he did not know?  Perhaps Trayvon  thought he was going to be mugged, assaulted, and maybe even get killed?  Unfortunately, he was right about getting killed!

Now, Zimmerman, sits with his suit and tie on, hoping that he will be found “innocent” of killing an unarmed 17 year old.  He hopes that the media and Hollywood focus of the trial will override the important issues of justice.  Zimmerman hopes that the focus will be on who has the better sounding, more educated, articulate witnesses and not on the facts and the absurdity of his claims.   Once Zimmerman “took the law into his hands,” he was guilty; he needs to be held responsible for everything he did after “crossing that line.”  Even the “Stand your Ground Law” can’t help him here.  Ironically, Trayvon Martin “stood his ground” and now he is deep in the ground; not to be seen or heard from again.  Who will stand in his place and give him the “justice” he deserves?

Tribute Song: Shot Into History (Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell…) – YouTube

 

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Taboo: Speaking on Behalf of Blacks and other people of Color

Posted on 30 August 2012 by mdepeine

When something is considered “taboo” it is something that you dare not mention or bring up.  A common response to you mentioning something that is “taboo” would be “Don’t speak of it!”  When something is “taboo” everybody around “knows” that only a fool would bring up the “taboo subject” in a public setting.  You don’t blurt out such subjects when you are in a crowded room.  You don’t bring them up when you speak from the podium.  You don’t mention these “taboo subjects” at a cocktail party.  You only discuss them in the privacy of your home and in your bedroom with someone you trust.

In America, I realize that “race, racism, prejudice” are “taboo subjects.”  These subjects usually come up when a “victim” of racism or prejudice wants some expression or justice in relation to what they have experienced.  Then and only then do I see these things become almost “acceptable” to discuss openly.  For example, race was discussed openly when we saw what happened to Rodney King.  It was also discussed openly when we saw what happened to Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Chavis Parker and a host of other black men who were killed  by the police.  Other than these extremely publicized cases, it seems that the topic of race, racism and prejudice goes back on “the shelf” until needed again.

Another taboo subject in America is a person’s color.  There seems to be this collective consciousness that says that “We are all the same and we need not make distinction about color.”  Ideally, that is where we would like to get to as a country.  Realistically, however, that is not where we are.  There are too many examples that “scream” of inequality.  Too many blacks, yes, I used the word, live in poverty. Too many blacks are not getting a quality education (elementary, secondary and college).  Too many underperforming school districts are being “ravaged” by bureaucrats in the name of “school reform.”  Too many black men are in prison and have no possibility of parole.  Too many blacks are in and out of jail and don’t even have the “right to vote” any more.  Too many young black men are being brutally killed by police and other security forces in the name of “justified force.”

Yes, God has created all of us as human beings.  We breath the same air.  We drink the same water (H2O).  We bleed the same way.  Our bodies get the same sicknesses and have the same organs.  Genetically speaking, Science has linked all humans to one common mother they call “Eve.”  So, we are all the same, but when you look at the history (include slavery), we have not all been treated the same.

So, I want to shatter this “taboo” and freely discuss race, racism, prejudice and skin color (all shades) freely for the purposes of highlighting a problem that must be addressed so that lives can be improved.  The non-victims of race don’t care to discuss race.  For the victims who daily navigate this society with the understanding that the dominant (white) race barely “sees” them or cares to “hear” them, this is a true reality.  Sometimes it is more real than the air that they breath, if that were possible.

Somehow, in America, it is wrong to speak up and say that “This was done to him/her because he/she is black.”  Those of color KNOW more than anybody when they are discriminated against.  An “outsider” can never define that for them because the “outsider” does not know what it is to really experience that racism or prejudice as a minority.  Yes, a white person will experience racism and it is wrong, but even that “offense” is a lot different from the person in the minority experiencing that offense.  The person in “power” who experiences racism could say, “Well, that’s your problem if you don’t like me because of my color, I control things anyway, you will still need to come back to me.”  On the other hand, the person who is not in “power” does not have the luxury of saying what the dominant, white person can say.  The one in the minority can say “Wow, another reminder of what I have to overcome to get somewhere in this country, I hope that he/she doesn’t close too many doors for me.”  This is just a glimpse of the thoughts that people could have.  One person sets the conditions for racism, one person is forced to navigate through those conditions.

Those who are afraid to address racism in America will call anyone who points out these trends a “race monger.”  They may call anyone who wants to bring to light these issues a “racist.”  The reality is, they don’t want to open up this “can of worms.”  But those who are daily victims of it, live in the “can of worms” every day.  They just want the “can of worms” to be addressed constructively as a country, as a nation.  Lots of good was done in the 50s and 60s during the Civil Rights Movement, but still a lot more needs to be done today, in the twenty-first century.

I believe that all Americans, Christians and non Christians, should put in the effort to address this issue of race.  The funny thing is, our best churches and fellowships are afraid to tackle this issue thoroughly, even though it exists there as well.

Let’s shatter the “taboos” of race discussion.  Let’s discuss what really is there and not speak from a point of view of only what we wish was there.  You can’t confront and fix a problem that you won’t acknowledge is there.  The first step is “admitting that you have a problem.”  So, we don’t have to live by those “fake rules” that say:  Don’t mention black or white, don’t mention racism, don’t talk about slavery and its impact on race relations today, don’t talk about reparation, don’t speak up for blacks, don’t help the poor, don’t talk about trends against blacks, don’t talk about inequality, don’t talk about the contributions of slaves, and a host of other don’ts.  You fill in the rest.

We must bring race relations in the United States to the table and confront it.  It affects every facet of our society and our daily lives in an adverse way and we pretend that it doesn’t.  Barack Obama spoke about it four (4) years ago in 2008.  That was the last major attempt to address “race in America.”  Tons of books have been written about the subject and hundreds of millions of people are adversely affected by it in this country alone.  Yet, can we continue to stand by and ignore such a big PROBLEM?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mentally Ill 49 Year Old Black Man is shot 46 Times by Saginaw, MI Police

Posted on 30 August 2012 by mdepeine

Saginaw, Michigan (July 2012): Milton Hill (49 year old black man) was allegedly shot at 46 times by 6 police officers who were about 10 feet away. All of that took about 5 seconds. That’s an average of 9 bullets per second towards one man. Officers said that Milton had a knife and he refused to drop it. Milton’s parents said that he suffered from mental illness. Why didn’t they stop at one (1) bullet? Too many of these killings are occurring and nothing is being done to stop it or address it as a nation. See the video on CNN.com

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Young Black Male in Police Custody, Hands Handcuffed Behind His Back, “Found Dead” in Back of Police Car?

Posted on 22 August 2012 by mdepeine

Death Of Handcuffed Man In Police Car Ruled A Suicide : The Two-Way : NPR

How does such a thing happen in America and we are not all enraged?  How does the “Police” have the nerve to rule this a suicide?  Chavis Carter, 21 years old (Arkansas), was thoroughly searched and there was no gun found and yet he was killed by a single bullet to the temple.  Where did the gun come from?  Why was there a gap in the police dashboard monitor’s footage?  Why is there no footage of the so-called “suicide?”

I smell “cover-up!”

This is another Trayvon Martin, plain and simple!

Mario Depeine, Sr. | Shot Into History (Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell…) | CD Baby Music Store

 

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Did Trayvon Have the Right to Defend Himself? Bernard Goetz Did!

Posted on 17 August 2012 by mdepeine

Somehow Trayvon Martin did not have the right to defend himself as he felt threatened or was threatened by a complete stranger who followed him in the dark.  In New York, in1984, Bernard Goetz (37 years old), who was white, felt threatened and he opened fire and shot four young black males.  He was later acquitted of attempted murder but found guilty for possessing an illegal gun.   He served only 8 months in jail.  Suppose Trayvon carried an illegal gun, shot George Zimmerman, would he only have served 8 months like Bernard Goetz did?  Suppose he had killed George, instead, would he have been out on bail or would he have been on death row already?

Bernard Goetz just “thought” that four (4) black young men were going to mug him on the train and he “opened fire” and wounded all four.  Many hailed him as a hero, while others saw him as a racist.  The four black men, in this case, “pursued” Bernard Goetz to his subway seat. Bernard Goetz was asked for $5 by four young black men and he opened fire because he “felt threatened.”  He felt “threatened and he “opened fire!”  He concluded that he was being mugged, again.

Trayvon Martin was “pursued” by a white man (Spanish mom does not necessarily mean, “nonwhite” mom, there are plenty of Spanish people who’s race is “white”), he obviously felt threatened and possibly “fought” for his life before his life was unnecessarily taken by George Zimmerman.  George could have followed the direction given to him by the “real” police but he instead aggressively “pursued” an innocent (was not committing any crime which warranted apprehension or lethal force) “young black male.”

Surely, in America, we are not saying that only white men and women have the right to defend themselves  (“stand your ground”) when they “perceive” a threat or are aggressively “pursued” in the dark of night?  Suppose Trayvon had managed to wrestle the gun out of Zimmerman’s hand and shot / killed Zimmerman, would he have been found “guilty” of murder / manslaughter?  Would it have been an “open and shut” case?  Bernard Goetz carried an illegal gun to “protect” himself and used it, not against one person, but against four (4) people, and he was not found guilty of the shootings.  He carried a loaded, illegal gun.  That showed premeditation!  Yet, as a white man, he was not found guilty of the shooting.

Why is Trayvon Martin’s “right to life” an issue?  Perhaps he fought George? Perhaps he knew martial arts?  Does that take away his innocence in this situation?  If he fought George Zimmerman, he may have done what any white American has the right to do, defend himself based on a “perceived threat.”  If someone who is not a police officer pursues me and he has a gun, I can only assume that that person is out to harm me in some way.

Goetz was asked for $5 by four young black men and he “opened fire” because he felt threatened.  Why are so many shocked and concerned that Trayvon Martin may have “fought” Zimmerman for his life?  If he fought for his life it was because he, like Bernard Goetz, felt threatened.  Only, in Trayvon’s case, he was black, he was not armed and he was killed after he was “pursued” and threatened.

Whether Zimmerman should be convicted of second degree murder is for the court and jury to decide.  But it is clear that Zimmerman “pursued” an innocent young black man and caused the death of that young black man, Trayvon Martin.  Zimmerman disregarded the direction given to him by the police and he escalated the situation until it became violent and eventually, lethal.  Trayvon Martin did not bring this on himself, Zimmerman “brought it on” Trayvon Martin.  If George Zimmerman had listened to the police, we would not have even heard of a Travon Martin or a George Zimmerman.  It would not have been a story at all.  Trayvon would have gone home to his family and that would have been the end of the story!

The fact that there is a Trayvon Martin story is because this young black man was wearing a “hoody” in a certain neighborhood (his father’s neighborhood).   We have to explore this issue and address the “profiling” that occurs in America.  We have to address the racism that causes the death and incarceration of so many young black men in America.  We have to take a “real” look at this issue and not be quick to dismiss it as “nonsense” or “sensationalism.”  There is still a race problem in America and the sooner we address it the healthier we will be as a nation.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0412/17/lkl.01.html

 

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Tribute Song: Shot Into History (Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell…)

Posted on 05 August 2012 by mdepeine

Mario Depeine, Sr. | Shot Into History (Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell…) | CD Baby Music Store

Tribute Song: Shot Into History (Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell…) – YouTube

This picture of the lynching of Tom Shipp (19) and Abe Smith (18) in Marion, Indiana (1930) was used because it speaks to an epidemic that is still current in our Modern American Society and “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  More than 70 years ago young and older blacks were being killed because they were seen as “suspicious” or they were accused of various crimes and all you needed was a frenzied white crowd and black lives were taken away in an instant.  Families were left devastated and horrified as they replayed the events in their minds.  These families had to try to move forward knowing that someone precious to them was taken away and these families were left only with deep sorrow, agonizing pain and only the memories of their loved ones.  Black families which were still intact had to live with the fear that at any given point they could be the next victim, all it would take is a look, a glance, a “bad day” or just someone “looking for some excitement” and a black life could be lost.  That was all.  This was clearly a form of state sanctioned terrorism.  It was legal and accepted in America for over a 100 years to systematically kill blacks.  It was a way to exert “white supremacy.”

We have advanced in many ways as a society, however when you look at public education, we still have “separate but unequal.” Studies have shown that American schools are just as segregated if not more segregated than they were before the landmark “Brown vs. Board of Education” ruling in 1954. Racism in America is still a “stain” that continues to work its poison and relegates “black or non-white blood” as inferior to “white blood” although the reality is, there is only red blood in all of us. This is a very very serious issue because precious lives are being lost as a result of it (unchecked racism) and nothing concrete has been done to stop it.

Now, in the 21st century, the lives of blacks are still being “taken” as if these lives are worth less than the lives of white American Citizens. This is still a “lynching” but a very well organized “lynching.” Blacks are still being shot or run-over (Victor Steen-FL-10/3/2009, Tamon Robinson-NY-4/12/12, to name a couple) for “any and every reason” by mostly white “officials” and “police” personnel who don’t seem to care much about the lives that they “take.” There is not any justice, just the “execution” of black men with very little repercussions. “Judges” in the judicial system casually uphold the unjustified forces used against these black men and put “the blame” squarely on the “silenced” victim who could never say “his side of the story.” So the deaths, the bloodshed continues.

Those who are in the middle of this injustice understand how wrong it is. Those who prefer to look at this from “afar” have a hard time understanding the “outrage.” It will take a lot of empathy and “putting oneself in the other’s shoes” to understand how bad and terrible this is in America; the land of “liberty and justice for all.”

Too many young black men have been gunned down needlessly and there has not been any “real justice” or real change. “Shot Into History” is a song that I wrote and produced to bring a sense of humanity to the lives lost. I want people to hear this song and say “Wow, a young life was lost.” I want people to say “These young men had families just like white young men have families that care about them.” I want people to not look for ways to justify “another shooting of a young black man” but rather look for a way to STOP the shootings and the inherent bias associated with these killings.

You do not hear about cases of young white men being shot by police or so-called “neighborhood watch” security individuals. The Us community would be outraged if there were so many white young men being shot in the way that young black men are being shot. Then, it would be an “American problem,” it would become a “suburban problem / epidemic.” This is happening in America and it does not appear to be much of a problem. A lot of people want to look at this as an “individual” problem or look at it in isolation. Meanwhile, all the families who no longer have their sons with them are having to grapple with the lost of someone who was precious to them, but not to America. They are grappling with the memories that are left to hold on to. These mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, etc. are trying to “make sense” of the sudden lost of a family member who was so dear to them but who was only seen by his color to the rest of America, the law, and the systems of racism and prejudice put in place to justify such bias treatment. These families are left to wonder what else could they have told their sons to assure that they are not “targeted, profiled and shot.” They taught them to “not run when the police calls for you.” They taught them “Do not put your hand in your pocket when the police stops you.” They taught them to “Say ‘yes sir, no sir’ when the police addresses you.” They tried to teach them everything to keep their sons alive and yet, their son is still dead, “Shot into history” nowhere to be heard again, nowhere to be found, unreachable. How does a parent reconcile that lost? How does a parent accept the phrase “Justice for all” when they could not even get justice for one?

This is not a “black community” problem. This is an American problem. There needs to be a greater sense of compassion in America for all of America’s children, not just the white children. Don’t fault people for stating the “race” in this issue because that is the reality. When black parents have to prep their kids about the police and the likelihood that the police could “kill” them, then race is definitely a central issue here. How many white parent prep their boys on the issues (don’t run, keep hands away from pocket, etc.) that black parents prep their boys about? You don’t hear that talk happening in the “white community.” That “talk” is not being done in the “white community” why should it be done in the black? This is a true disparity and it “screams” inequality and “inferiority” yet as Americans we treat it as if it “should be” that way. No sense in Americans being outraged about inequalities abroad while remaining silent about inequalities in our “own backyard.” Let’s lead in this area America, let’s lead!

So for all the Trayvon Martins, Amadou Diallos, and Sean Bells who have lost their lives senselessly, I say SPEAK UP AMERICA! Speak up for all of America’s children. Address the racial issues that are built-into the systems that we are upholding. When we really address and admit the racism, we will start moving toward solutions that will save “precious lives.” Yes! Those lost lives were precious. The Trayvon Martins, Amadou Diallos and Sean Bells that are still alive today, their lives are precious as well. Let’s see to it that their lives are not “snuffed out” because of bias that is left unaddressed, by racism that is disguised as “justified force.”

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The Innocence of Trayvon Martin

Posted on 24 March 2012 by mdepeine

I am very proud of Trayvon Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton.  What they are going through must be excruciating pain.  They are   probably most able to go forward because they want JUSTICE for their murdered son.  They know that they saw him in the morning and may have talked to him in the afternoon and by evening, he was dead and gone.

Trayvon was innocent, yet they did a drug test on him to see if they could sully his image.  Perhaps the police would have felt a little better about the events if Trayvon had been a drug user.  But, to their disappointment, he was not.  Perhaps the police would have felt better about the death if Trayvon had some police record, but to their disappointment, he did not have a record.  The only thing that Trayvon had “against” him was that he was  a “young black man” wearing a “hoodie” in Florida.  He was deemed suspicious!  If Trayvon was white, would he have been considered suspicious?

Trayvon was pursued like a criminal.  He was hunted like he was an animal.  His death was dismissed like it was just the “normal oder” of things.  Thankfully, the need for JUSTICE grew louder and louder and I hope that it grows even louder still.  I am so thankful for all the people who expressed outrage on  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and all the other social networks.  I am so thankful that people have “taken to the streets” about this.  I am thankful that the parents are saying “NO” and that they want their son’s life vindicated.

No child in America, black, white, spanish, or whatever, should have to be confronted the way Trayvon was. No child in America should ever be shot down the way Trayvon was.  No child in America should ever be subject to the horror and terror that Travon faced on his final day on Earth.  Trayvon was pursued by an armed citizen and he himself was a citizen.  He was forced to prove that he was worthy of living, that he was worthy of “normal” citizenship.  Trayvon had to prove in a matter of seconds that his youth and his “blackness” was not a crime.  Before he could prove any of that, his life was taken away.  Now his parents, the spectators, his supporters and the rest of America and everyone else  who cares will have to PROVE his “worth” and his “innocence” where he could not in the short life that he lived.

The story of Trayvon Martin is not a “black story.”  It is not a “minority issue.”  It is not an “urban issue.”  Trayvon Martin’s story is an American issue.  America and all Americans need to be outraged about the current “status quo.”  Racism and all that it carries must be addressed so that young and older black men will not be gunned down, abused, mistreated because they “raise suspicion” in the people that they randomly encounter.  We must confront the “demons” that we have allowed to exist in our race relations and address the true issues of the death, murder, and yes, the incarceration of black men in America!

In 1999, Amadou Diallo (22 years old), a black man, was shot 19 times (41 bullets fired) by the New York Police while he attempted to retrieve his wallet and show his ID to the police, he was innocent!  in 2006, Sean Bell (23 years old), another black man, was gunned down with 11 bullets (50 shots fired) by the police the night before his wedding day and he was innocent!  Have we heard of such things happening to young “white men?”  No!  We have to look at all the facts and admit that this is a PROBLEM!

Trayvon Martin, a black young man, 17 years old, was shot dead and he was INNOCENT!

Commentary on Senseless and Heartless Shooting of Young Trayvon Martin – YouTube

Amadou Diallo News – The New York Times

Sean Bell – The New York Times

Trayvon Martin – Parents Recall Son’s Last Night : People.com

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