Two Unarmed Black Men Gunned Down by Law Enforcement within 48 Hours   Leave a comment

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Alton Sterling and Philandro Castlile. Two unarmed African American men who were killed by Law Enforcement. In the case of Mr. Sterling, his execution was recorded by multiple cameras as it happened. In the case of Mr. Castile, he was killed simply for following the officer’s instructions. His girlfriend, who was in the car along with their 4-year old daughter livestreamed from there. Speaking of Mr. Sterling’ murder:

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It’s EXTREMELY important to point out the last 3 lines in his particular case: Not only should the Department of Justice be involved with both cases but so should the National Rifle Association. They preach about the rights of Gun Owners. A licensed gun owner was just killed by police in the case of Mr. Castile. If they want the good PR they can get from this, this will get involved. LOL. Louisiana is an open carry state and Minnesota allows concealed carry. I can’t think of a good reason for the NRA to not be involved with both cases.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton called it right this afternoon when he said if Mr. Sterling was not Black, he wouldn’t have died. President Obama put out a statement on Facebook this afternoon on both shootings saying they are not isolated incidents but indicative of a larger, older nationwide problem that needs to be addressed.

A Bullet from Being a Hashtag

…I set this pcture as my Facebook profile picture as a form of silent protest. America has both a Black Lives Don’t Matter problem and an No Gun Uontrol problem. Most might not be aware of care about this but most of Europe and many other countries have issued travel advisories for their citizens visiting the U.S. BECAUSE OF our gun problem. The rest the world just can’t understand why despite the overwhelming public support for common sense gun legislation, our government refuses to do anything about it. At the same time, there are so many who look for every excuse they can think of to not acknowledge that as a society, America fears African American men and boys.

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As many of you know, I’ve worked in Boston Classrooms for the last 14 years. Something I would like to do starting at the end of the next school year is speak to high school students and more specifically, male graduates of color. I want to look them in the eye and tell them what they didn’t learn in grade school and what they won’t learn in college: How to live with their dignity. I feel it is more important now than ever for black male role models to mentor students, helping them become emotionally and mentally prepared for what might come their way one day.

I live in a state where for almost 20 years, weather you went to jail or not was decided by a test you took in the 3rd, 8th or 10th grade. Students were not allowed to graduate unless they passed this test. I was one the lucky ones: I was part of the last graduating class that didn’t have this test as a graduation requirement. I had the displeasure of knowing many students–most of whom were black or hispanic–who failed this test.

Those who complete their other graduation requirements but fail this test are given a Graduation Certificate, which does nothing for them. It just means they’re no longer the district’s problem. Most end up having to take GED classes as a workaround if they want a high school diploma. It’s very doable. My brother for life Marco Palmarin did it during while doing the City Year program in 2005.

Having taught GED courses at a summer school program for a summer, I can tell you it’s not easy. Even so, students take the classes because they know important it is. What’s scary is this test was used to racially profile children: Experts could determine as early as the third Grade if a student would end up in jail later in life based on how they did. Try to imagine how scary that is not just for the student to know that but their parents. This is what happens when our children are turned into nothing but numbers for the profits of test making companies.

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The death of Philandro Castile and the immediate aftermath, which the whole world saw in real time is just a glipse of what is a painful reality for African American families. NO OTHER DEMOGRAPHIC has to sit down with their kids and have The Talk in regards to how they should interact with Law Enforcement. While I have not personally had this kind of conversation with either of my parents or other male relatives growing up, it is something I have been keenly aware of from an early age.

Looking at the historical relevance, the behavior blacks are expected to exercise in the presence of law enforcement is eerily similar to that of a black slave and their white slave owners/overseers.  The feelings are the same: Weather you follow the unwritten rules and expectations or not, your next destination will either be the precinct or the morgue. No one should have to feel that way.

I have a 5 month old nephew, a 4 year old nephew and a 7 year old niece. Honestly, I’m more worried about my nephews becoming victims of black on black crime than I am either of them being killed by law enforcement. Even so, it’s a conversation that will happen with both of them once they’re both a little older. I plan to talk to their father about it at some point this weekend.

In closing, I’ll leave you with this video I finally uploaded in May but will now have to revise. Due to the profanity in parts of the video, viewer discretion is advised.

 

…The racists and biggots wasted no time coming up to excuses to justify both shootings. As is often the case, they are quick to point to the vicitim’s rap sheet as “justification” for the killings. As President Obama said this evening on the subject, this is NOT a police problem. This is a society problem we can no longer stay silent on as a country.

..Besides, it’s not like we’re not asking for what is already promised to ALL Americans by the US Constitution. Just to be treated equally in the eyes of both the law AND society. We can no longer seek one. We must seek both.

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