This week has been heartbreaking with one disappointment after the next. When I went to bed early on the Fourth of July, I hoped to not wake up to innocent bystanders being shot by idiots firing guns as others popped fireworks. To my disappointment I learned of the death of Alton Sterling, the 37 year old Black man who sold CD’s outside of a Food Mart in Baton Rouge, Louisiana,not far from where I started the magazine.
News reports say a 911 call was placed about a man “brandishing a gun”. Later reports say the call was made by a homeless man who was bothering Sterling, however, the Food Mart owner said he was unaware of the call or of any such incident. Video footage from bystanders show two white police officers tackling Sterling to the ground and shooting him. The video footage alone was disturbing, but watching his children’s mother and particularly his son break down in the press conference, is what broke me. It must have broken others as well, as Issa Rae creator of Awkward Black Girl, has raised $570,398 (as of now) for Sterling’s children through GoFundMe, surpassing her goal of $200,000 by over $300,000 plus.
Unfortunately, as Rae was raising funds for Sterling’s children, on July 6th, Philando Castile was being pulled over for a busted taillight with his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds and their daughter. As Castile reached for his identification, he was shot four times by the police, though he had already informed the officer that he was licensed to carry. Reynolds livestreamed the aftermath via Facebook Live. In the video we see Castile moaning and slipping into unconsciousness. A later video shows Reynolds and their daughter in the back of a police car as their daughter tries to console her saying, “It’s ok mommy.” A later announcement from Castile’s family confirmed his death. The second murder prompted a letter from Beyonce who plead for all of those who do not value human life, not just the police to “stop killing us.”
On July 7th, as protests took place across the country, a peaceful protest in Dallas was interrupted when snipers took aim at the police, which resulted in 7 injured and 5 dead officers. In the midst of the chaos, Mark Hughes, a Black man who licensed to carry and armed during the protests but on the ground was falsely accused as the sniper.Hughes’s face was plastered over social media and the news. In an interview with the news station, he says he turned himself in to the first officer he saw after he learned of the accusation and cleared things up, but the Dallas Police Department has yet to issue him an apology of any kind. In his brother’s news interview, he stated that he advised Mark to turn his gun over to the police as soon as the shooting started, so he did not even have a gun during that time.
Overall this week, has felt like the end of days while going back in time. I also feel the need to add the lynching labeled suicide in Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia also on July 7th. The first reports have called it suicide, but authorities say no autopsy has been completed. Mayor Kasim Reed has referred the case to the FBI as many do not believe it was suicide and online reports say the Klu Klux Klan were in the park the night before. The man has yet to be identified but was said to be between the ages of 25-35.
It’s scary to think what the weekend may bring.