As a black male living in America, it is difficult to see how many of my people are getting killed or injured by gun violence. It sometimes brings tears to my eyes.I watch videos of men being shot, and it seems to be happening more and more. So far in 2016, 242 black people have been killed by police, according to the Guardian’s The Counted project. It is not fair that someone and their family should have to suffer because of the color of their skin.
My dad was a cop when I was younger and loved his job. He couldn’t keep doing it though because police violence started to rise and more and more cops were either relieved of duty or put in jail. An officer my dad knew was put in jail. My dad had to stop being a cop. This was hard on me and my family because I know how much he wanted to keep this line of work but couldn’t. So for a while he was out of work and it took a big toll on our whole family.
My father eventually found new work and as much as he loves doing what he does now, I can tell he misses it. He was a lot happier being a cop and still to this day he still shares stories with me and my brother about what things happened when he was on duty.
Growing up I had to learn different than other kids did. My mother had to tell me that I wouldn’t always be treated fairly like other kids. My mom told me that if a cop ever pulled me over to do everything they tell you to do, don’t talk back at all, don’t argue with them, don’t provoke them, if they arrest you tell them you want to speak to your lawyer and speak to your parents.
Black lives really do matter and as you can see it does not just affect black people but, it effects all of the people around them too. The breakdown of trust between police and many of the communities of color they serve is growing and it must be stopped.
The alternative is more of the same. People—cops and citizens—scared to walk down the street This is not a position we should be in and it has to change.
Writing by Braxton Taylor
Art by Kathy Campo
Join us February 16 as students perform their work live through spoken word, music, video and theatre on in Downtown LA. RSVP here.