By Zerline Hughes
As I write, we’re all watching national news channels, awaiting the Ferguson Grand Jury announcement. I really don’t want to watch. I’m scared. On the news, I see some ralliers are masked. I just heard “F*** the Police” playing while protestors sang along. It’s pretty tense out there in Ferguson, Missouri and so am I.
The announcement comes on the same day that the news told us a young boy in Cleveland, Ohio, was shot and killed by police. Yes; he had a BB gun on a playground, but he was a child. And now he’s not.
Same goes for Michael Brown. He was a kid. And now he’s not. All at the hands of a cop who, when it comes down to it, probably wasn’t trained all that well — nor was the city of Ferguson in dealing with civil unrest that soon followed. And that’s why I’m afraid.
I’m also afraid for my Black son. I’m almost thankful (yet still pissed) that he lost his black hooded sweatshirt. When I saw him walking toward me, away from me with his backpack and hood on, I saw Trayvon Martin — yet another of our Black kids who succumbed to unneeded violence while wearing a black hoodie, carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. Still, even though his black hoodie is gone, my son is still a target. And will continue to be, at the rate we’re going.
I knew that he currently faces a 1 in 3 chance of going to jail, prison, being on parole or probation – touching the criminal justice system in some way. But now, he has what seems to be an even greater chance of being shot dead on the street at the hand of black-on-black crime, by overpolicing police officers or stand your ground vigilantes (Read the Justice Policy Institute’s report, Rethinking the Blues).
What will come of tonight’s decision … I think we all know.
Either way, nothing good, I say. The stats, our condition, our perspectives will remain the same. Collectively.