On November 25, 2014, I wrote to you about my concerns for our black young men being gunned down by the police. Today, July 7, 2016, I find myself totally overwhelmed emotionally because of what happened to Alton Sterling and Philando Castile this week. Within 24 hours, these two young men were tragically shot and killed by police. Video footage shows Alton Sterling being shot at close range while physically subdued by two officers in Baton Rouge, LA. On the other hand, in Minnesota, Philando Castile was shot during a traffic stop, with his girlfriend and her young daughter in the car, by a CLEARLY agitated and unreasonable officer. Within 24 hours of each other…the emotional barrage is too much for me to take, so I thought it best to write to you again. But I decided I am not going to even change the original letter one iota. What I felt and experienced then, I feel now. Here, years later, the tenor and spirit of what I wrote remains the same. Eerily so. I will however, add some names to the list of those who have gone before you, since my original post. Their memory deserves to be honored, because Black Lives Matter.
Remember, I love you and want you to take to heart what has spewed from mine:
My Dear Sons,
There are those who have gone before you and their blood cries out for justice: Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. Dante Parker. Tanisha Anderson. Akai Gurley. Tamir Rice. Rumain Brisbon. Eric Harris. Walter Scott. Freddie Gray. Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Kimani Gray. Amadou Diallo. Timothy Stansbury Jr. I could continue; the list is exhaustive. Some names you know. Some names you may not know. If you don’t know the name, I need you to take the time to research their tragic stories. What they all have in common is that they were young, black, unarmed and killed by police officers. (One was literally killed because he was black and no other reason. You’ll discover who when you do your research). I am writing to you because my heart is very heavy in this hour. I am here at work, trying to maintain some semblance of composure. All the while, my mind keeps returning to Ferguson, MO and Michael Brown. His murderer, a white police officer, walked away SCOTT-FREE last night after a grand jury determined there was no probable cause to charge him with a crime. I join a national host of frustrated and angry individuals. For all that our race has endured, fought and died for, in the name of civil rights, I truly feel as though the tide is turning against us, in a way I did not expect. We are slowly being exterminated by the very forces we elect to protect and serve us. The decision in Missouri yesterday makes me sad for you and for all young black men across this country. It is open season on the black male. Age is not a factor either. Young men like the 12-year-old Tamir Rice and 14-year-old Cameron Tillman have been gunned down by anxious trigger happy cops. They were just LITTLE BOYS whose lives had hardly begun! The police are out of control, and the courts are allowing them to get away with murder time after time.