The world has gone mad.
There is too much sadness these days and I am out of tears.
Less than two years ago, my brother Bart, who suffered from bi-polar disorder, was shot and killed by three Cal State San Bernardino University police officers in his campus apartment.
My brother had three strikes against him. He was black, male and suffered from a mood disorder.
Only recently did my family see some small measure of justice for Bart’s death, though the pain remains as searing today as it did on December 8, 2012 the day he was killed.
Today I sit numb watching the madness that is Ferguson, Missouri where 18 year-old teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by police.
The images coming out of Ferguson are chilling.
Dogs, SWAT teams, sharp shooters, all focused on subduing an enraged, grieving public that is fed up with the abuses of an increasingly brutal, militarized police force.
Infuriatingly, we are growing all too familiar with this story line.
Too many black and brown people, especially young men, are losing their lives at the hands of police who have no regard for their lives let alone their humanity.
It’s hard not to think the bullet has become the 21st Century noose.
The list of young black and brown men cut down by police is long.
The list seems to grow every day.
Thursday, August 14th will be a National Moment of Silence to remember young Mike Brown and our loved ones who were murdered by police.
We don’t know all of their names or the circumstances under which they were killed.
Many of their stories never made headlines but their lives mattered.
They are missed. They are loved.
Bartholomew Paul Williams
John Crawford III
Stephen Eugene Washington
These are the names I could find. I know there are more. I will update this post with more names as I find them.
My family and I know the pain Michael Brown’s family feels right now. Long after the twitter posts fade, the news cycle turns and the outrage diminishes, they will be left to pick up the pieces of their shattered hearts.
Please pray for them and all the families who lost love ones at the hands of police brutality.
Use your voice to demand that law enforcement in our communities be held accountable for their actions.
We cannot let our voices be diminished.
We must demand justice for those who can no longer speak for themselves.
This insanity must end.
Thank you for reading and sharing this post.
I would like to add my children’s father Rahjon Chambers whom was ran over by a police vehicle.. They left the tires of the car on his chest… 2010.. You can look it up but of course the info the paper reported was incorrect
Ktryna, I have no words. I am adding Rahjon’s name to the list. This shouldn’t be. My heart goes to you. Thank you for sharing your loss.
Beautifully written. Sean is going to share this with the Public Defenders – they encounter these horrid things daily. Such a disgrace.
Ginny, thanks so much for sharing this. I know as a prosecutor, Sean probably has seen his fill of these cases. The more light we shine on police brutality, the less tolerant society will be. Thank you.
Hi there, I think we went to Lincoln together? Perahps we knew each other as well? Or was that your sister? I knew Bart. Mostly from heated political debates (how can you be black and Republican!?! What doe your parents think, Mr. Alex P. Keaton!?!?) He was so smart, handsome, articulate, conservative both in politics and personal style (seriously preppy, even for Lincoln), so much his own person, his own man even at 15. I would have never imagined this end for that wonderful young man. Very sad to hear of his death- I just found out yesterday, nearly 4 years later. It makes every headline so much more personal. Bravo to you for everything you are doing to raise your voice, honor his memory, and make the US a better place. Feeling very sad today thinking of Bart.
Lisa, thanks so much for your lovely note. I think our time may have overlapped by a year at Lincoln (so very long ago!). My sister and I also graduated from Lincoln. Yes, Bart was definitely one of a kind. My family and I joke that he would love this political season so much. We grew up having the very same kind of heated debates you mentioned in our family and Bart was always the conservative which always drove me crazy but made for great conversation. He’d love talking about the Colin Kaepernick controversy! I’m pretty sure Bart would be a libertarian if he were alive today. The issues of police brutality are very real for so many families like ours. It is heart breaking and frustrating. I think very gradually we are moving the needle in raising awareness about race, the militarization of the police and the crucial need for criminal justice reform. I appreciate your kind words, Lisa. It looks like you doing very important work yourself for women around the world. It’s amazing to see the incredible work that so many Lincoln High School students have gone to do around the world. All the best to you.