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Posts Tagged ‘Dorian Johnson’

After days that went into intensive months of a call for justice, Monday November 24, at around half past 8 pm, would be a sad moment for those of us anxiously awaiting the grand jury’s decision to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the tragic killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed person barely out of his teens just trying to get home.

While many in the news continued to voice their doubts given the local authorities’ brazen disregard for public demands to do the right thing, still there were those of us hoping that most of the grand jury members would follow reason, ignore that tribal impulse to support racism’s views and indict Wilson on at least one of the charges, which ranged from degrees of murder to involuntary manslaughter. But, of course, they didn’t, and thus failed to indict him.

As I watched the people’s reactions on CNN after hearing Robert McCulloch, the county prosecutor announce the grand jury’s decision of no indictment for Officer Wilson in Michael Brown’s shooting, I had to fight back the tears as the subtle wailing and moaning of the frustrated protesters (most likely not much older than Michael was) managed to briefly waft above the noisy crowd. Soon, too many hours of repressed anxiety would ultimately give rise to chaos, violence and the destruction of local businesses that serve their community.

A Brutal Disregard for Humanity

Throughout the ages though never a good idea, seems chaos, violence, the burning and looting of local stock is not unusual when public demand for justice is arrogantly ignored by its leaders, and the people are left frustrated and hurt beyond belief. Sadly, Ferguson’s local leaders (from the governor on down) knew this and could have prevented it. But, they didn’t! Which reeks of a brutal disregard for humanity, or so it seems.

As most reasonable persons well know by now, if they so chose, via cable news and detailed articles on the web from the Washington Post, here, the Root, New York Daily News, Dorian Johnson’s grand jury testimony in September, Darren Wilson’s grand jury testimony and such, the evidence against Officer Wilson supports the public’s (and now the world’s) demands for justice for Michael Brown: An innocent, unarmed person who simply did not deserve to be seen as less than human and then gunned down like a mad animal in the street…which is what Officer Wilson, the local authorities and other misguided folks would have us all believe!

And so while we patiently wait for justice for Mike Brown from our Justice Department, we urge those in our great society to rise above the primal instinct to defend tribalism (one’s own group) and realize that as an open and free democracy we are all in this together. Thus, justice for one is justice for all, and justice denied lets injustice thrive where we least imagine it to be.

The Gift of Humanity

A simple way out of tribalism and racism…always see another’s humanity first!   And do take care to remember our common humanity at all times. This is likely how the ancient custom of speaking, particularly when passing another or that of saying “good morning” at day’s beginning or “good night” at day’s end, came into practice in human affairs.

Finally we learn that to honor another’s humanity is to realize our own, which is a sacred gift that awakens our innermost happiness and keeps us civilized.

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2014. All rights reserved.

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 “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: For our vines have tender grapes.”
                         ~Song of Solomon, 2:15 KJV

Tragically, on August 9, 2014, around 12pm, Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager while allegedly begging for his life with hands in the air, the universal sign of surrender, was shot multiple times until he was dead by Darren Wilson, a local police officer of European origin in Ferguson, Missouri. Only 18 years of age, Michael had recently graduated from high school with immediate plans to attend college and later start his own business; thus, a promising fruit on the vine of society destined to blossom and improve life for all.

What follows afterwards seems hopeless, at first, given the ever-increasing incidents of alleged “police brutality” against African American males in their prime that usually ends with vilifying the victim and exonerating the offending police officer. Yet, hope soon looms large on this dismal horizon, as the people have had enough! And the vigorous, collective protesting has begun. Thus, things are about to change in this regard and all for the best, like it or not.

Unlike Trayvon Martin, another doomed teenager, age 17, who, on February 26, 2012 in Sanford, FL, while walking alone one dark and rainy evening was stalked then later shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a wannabe cop passing as the neighborhood watch, Michael Brown was walking with a friend at high noon. Thankfully, his friend, Dorian Johnson, not only survived this traumatic event, but is now a federal witness.

Moreover, there are at least two other creditable witnesses, with more coming forward, who basically are saying the same thing, which makes it very difficult for a reasonable person to overlook. Though systemic racism is trying hard, as usual, to exploit society’s dark beliefs and obscure the facts. Still, such historic conditioning can only last for so long…as the force of truth will not be ignored forever, and that’s a fact!

Where Are Our Peacemakers?

Actually, back in the day, police officers were also called Peace Officers. Despite it all these days, most police officers, who are also trained to operate on a high plane of reason, are really quite good at their jobs. And thus work hard at keeping us, the public, safe. Sometime ago while suffering the painfully loud music of an inconsiderate neighbor…who, by the way, was of European origin…I had to rely heavily on my city’s police department to restore the peace as our transitioning landlord just was not helping that much.

Convincing the police to empathize with my little predicament, however, was not easy at first. After all, they had more important things to do, like catch the bad guys. And I understood that, but I too had to survive. So, after politely rejecting their attempts to convince me that loud music in apartments was normal nowadays, I threaten to go to the press. In turn, they politely gave me their names, badge numbers and sergeant’s telephone number. The ensuing conversation with their sergeant was, of course, perfect. Sgt R was professional without being cold and stuffy, and friendly without being false and condescending; thus, we talked a good half-hour and he kept his word and followed up with me the next day.

“Keep Talking to Them.”

Thereafter, with the police’s help things always calmed down. Since the noise did not permanently abate I had to call the police often. Yet they always came out and cheerfully helped. And so, in the process, I learned how highly trained the police actually were in quietly restoring the peace. Thus, whenever I called the PD, even to ask more questions, I always felt a deep sense of peace after hanging up. Eventually, I moved; thus a happy ending at last.

Yet, I never will forget what one of the responding officers told me after my explaining how difficult it was to get the apartment manager to act, which he had agreed was the owner’s responsibility. It was a potent message that simply said: “Keep talking to them.” This resonated within me deeply as I knew immediately that this message was from a higher place of truth and forgiveness. I would use this advice quite often in difficult times.

Sadly Today, Instead of our Peace Officers, the “Little Foxes” Seem to Abound.

Revered by Judaism and Islamic scholarship, the above Scripture and the entire Song of Solomon is an allegory extolling the bliss of God found only in direct communion with our True Self. The “tender grapes,” reminiscent of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the great Sufi poet, c.1048-1122, represents the peace or bliss of God. While “the little foxes” seem to suggest our stolen peace by the little foxes of anger and hatred festering in our own minds and hearts. And so we must change.

As I see it, if we are to believe the key eyewitness Dorian Johnson, which our justice system usually accepts, as do I absent any future surprises to the contrary that likely will not happen, Officer Darren Wilson had a choice when he approached the two young men in question.

Instead of allegedly telling them to “get the f–k” out of the street and later putting his hands on someone else’s child, thus approaching them with anger and a total disrespect for their humanity, he simply could have told them to get out of the street or parked his cruiser and talked to them peacefully. As neither Michael nor Dorian were suspects of anything other than walking in the street instead of on the sidewalk. Yet, Officer Wilson didn’t, though he knew or should have known to make a better choice in that moment. Tragically, the rest is history.

And the obvious question concerning Officer Wilson’s deadly actions remains: Who or what was he really angry at and why did he let the little foxes of anger and hatred residing within him get the best of him? The best being that in which to allow him to be the Peace Officer that he was or should have been trained to be. Though Officer Wilson may never answer this resounding question publicly, he will one day either in this life or the next as we are all eternal beings.

Document! Document! Document!

After all is said and done, the wake-up call is clear and the community is ready to make definitive changes, and so we move forward. Sure to deter police harassment, a national database of police officer’s offenses is needed. This has to include the offending officer’s name, badge number and, of course, the date, time and place of the incident.

Shortly before his death in 1895, Frederick Douglass was asked what advice he would give to a young African American. He wisely answered: Agitate! Agitate! Agitate! In the Frederick Douglass tradition, I respectfully submit my best advice based on my life experiences as an African American woman on my own path to personal freedom and self discovery.

Thus in hard times where I felt my personal freedom or dignity was about to be oppressed, usually by an important authority figure such as my employer, a landlord, or even the police, my first line of defense was to first either tell that person or somebody and then, if necessary, document, document, document! This has always worked for me and will work in the collective defense against police harassment or worse.

Having heard personal stories of police harassment of African American males over the years, some very hurtful, I have always thought if only these incidents could be documented and kept in a national database for quick reference as future evidence if needed. Well, today’s technology can now supply that need and at minimal cost it seems. Imagine the bad cops who continue to harass and bully people just because they think they can get away with it and usually do. No one likes to be written up, so to speak.  Mainly those who know how damaging that can be in a court of law, particularly documentation of repeat offenses.

And so today, let the documenting of police harassment and brutality begin and stored in a national database. No longer do African Americans have to remain a victim of police harassment, thus: Document! Document! Document! And so our democracy evolves.

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2014. All rights reserved.

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