For Antwan, And Those Before…And After

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My pen is tired. I am tired of writing black men’s names as hashtags. Reducing promise and power to a series of symbols which translate to a mere name.

And what names, what lists have happened to be filled with names and blood of men whom look like and are my fathers before. My pen, my heart, my soul is tired of recalling all those whom I have been outraged to know their power and potential whom have been exacted from the world. They are needed. Black men are needed. This system which has deemed itself noble by oppressing the rights of those considered invaluable property.

My pen is tired.

Yet, amidst this agony, I gather strength. This strange fusion of duty, anger and passion compel me to notice and record and encourage the better angels of our nature. There is much left so say, I dare not become quiet.

In the case of the honor student, Antwan Rose, Jr., in Pittsburgh it would seem something all together sinister for the officer whom killed him to have only been sworn in only about two hours earlier. Two hours. Less than two hours. MCU movies are longer than two hours. The man that killed the woman’s son wasn’t even the a cop long enough to get all the way through Iron Man.

And you wonder why are incensed? We are tired if hearing the alarm go off on social media with this familiar siren:


This keeps happening. It keeps happening, and the louder we roar, the louder the murderous allies become to drown us out. Today, amid the protest for this young man’s life being stolen by the one charged by profession to protect it, someone drove a car through the protest (Sound familiar?). The narrative wants us to know the officer that killed him (Michael Rosfeld):

“…Rosfeld, the officer who shot Rose, had been sworn in to the East Pittsburgh police force just hours before the shooting, though he’d worked with other local departments for seven years, CNN affiliate WPXI reported. He has been placed on administrative leave, police have said.” (CNN, 6/23/18)

This is the all too familiar narrative we are spoon-fed. This is the same righteous rage that pushes the proponents of blue lives matter to want to make any action against police officers deemed menacing or threatening being graced as a protected class. There are people in the world whom have decided the police are gods and it is blasphemy to challenge them. To challenge them is to challenge the white supremacy. You see, it is the declaration of BLACK LIVES MATTER which is the problem not the police. To say otherwise, is a lie.

Think about this. Why is the opposition to humanity so drastic? What is it about saying BLACK LIVES MATTER such a problem? Pro-tip:  White supremacy hates blackness, black lives and the embodiment of both in black men and their sons. Ergo, we have this.

In turn, because white supremacy doesn’t take a day off, neither do Firestarters. I won’t fall in line while those whom look like  my brother are murdered with more callous than dogs or cows.

Antwan was 17. He was a son and a student and should have had the chance to see what senior year would hold for him. He deserved the right to live–he was shot in the back. I’m sure his mother told him ‘how to survive the encounter’ and he ran. Taking aim, and no thought, his murderer clad in blue, killed him. And is now on leave:  his cherry finally popped and can bask in it like something out of Black Mirror.

In all this despair, we still fight. We fight because we believe in the better, the right to live and faith in our own humanity to be recognized. We believe we can survive the encounter–because we know we don’t fight for just us, but all of us. In the words of Fannie Lou Hamer, “Ain’t nobody free till everybody free.”

So, we gon get free. We will be free.

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