By Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune
Dear Grand Jury,
This time I am really going to need an explanation for your decision. Please do not hide behind legalese or the cloak of anonymity. You see, I have to explain to my children why some lives are not valued the same way as others. I have to try to help them to understand why an illegal choke hold that ends someone’s life and is deemed murder is not punishable by the laws of this land. What makes this worse is that I already had to explain why walking home from a 7-11 with Skittles and iced tea is a death sentence and playing loud music in a car. I struggled then to find the right words and I have to tell you it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do…well, until I had to explain why someone gets killed asking for help when his car broke down, and someone else gets killed presumably because he was walking in the middle of the street and had a smart mouth. Oh yeah! Then there’s that video out of Cleveland where a 12-year-old is murdered for playing in a park of all places.
I am a wordsmith by profession and considered by some to be a communications expert but I no longer have the words. How sad and ironic. I have tears. I have frustration. I have righteous indignation. I just don’t have the right words. And, honestly, I’m tired of searching for them. I’m tired of trying to figure out how to frame the discussion so my children, especially my son, don’t grow up being overly suspicious and filled with mistrust and disdain for others. But, you’ve got to help me with this because I’ve run out of words and I don’t really know what to say. How do I fix this and help them to make sense of it? What do I tell them to do? Should they speak up or remain silent if confronted by the police? Should they stand still or move slowly? Should they put their hands up or keep them down? Show their hands or put them in their pockets? Take abuse and unfair treatment if a situation is not assessed correctly hoping for justice one day or just accept the abuse of power as a way of life? What exactly do I tell my children? How exactly do I explain this one that was caught on video and understood to be a crime by reasonable people and by the laws of New York State? How exactly do I keep them alive long enough to change a system that seems to have very little regard for their lives?
Yeah. I need an explanation. And, I need it now.
#EricGarner #TamirRice #MichaelBrown #JonathanFerrell #RenishaMcBride #JordanDaivs #TrayvonMartin #BlackLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter