When They See Us

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Good afternoon guys, I missed talking to you and after this Netflix mini-series, this is a perfect time for a new blogpost. Initially, I saw the trailer for this mini-series months prior. I did not know much about the boys that were arrested and held captive by the police from Central Park in New York City. A few days ago, I watched this series from beginning to end. Ava DuVernay did an astounding job capturing the humanity of those young boys. Because they were BOYS. Anton McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise were all young boys that were incarcerated due to a ridiculous falsehood that they brutally raped and assaulted a white, female jogger, who is Tricia Meili. Korey Wise was 16-years-old and he was appointed to an adult prison, Rikers Island, which is one of the most infamous prisons known to man. It’s notoriety is rooted in complete and utter negligence of the inmates that are being held. The story starts with examining each young boy in their own respective lives. Anton McCray was a young boy that lived with his mother and father. He was a fun-loving and honest young man. Kevin Richardson played an instrument (I believe it was a trumpet) and he typically walked home with his older sister. Raymond Santana was a very sociable young boy, who was in the 7th grade. Lastly, Yusef and Korey were the only alleged perpetrators that were friends prior to the Central Park 5 case. I thought that they all knew each other prior to being arrested. However, I was wrong because the boys did not know each other and were coerced into confessing for a crime they did not commit. Linda Fairstein , who currently resides in New York, was the prosecutor of the case. She made it her duty to incriminate these boys for a crime they had nothing to do with. There was a serial rapist and killer that was killing and raping women throughout New York (Matias Reyes). Fairstein felt the need to lock up anyone within radius of that night. It is a shame that a group of young, black men were “wilding” in a group together. They were simply having fun and being young people. Sadly, these five boys were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Fairstein ordered police officers to be on the scout for all young, black boys that were in the area at that point in time. Officers captured the young boys in many different areas. This movie really delves into the deeper issue of what officers see when they see black people. Do you see young, naïve boys and girls. Or do you see devious, criminal and violent women and men. My heart goes out for all of the young boys, but especially Korey Wise. Korey was the only one who never admitted to what he hadn’t done. He was actually captured by association because Yusef was taken into custody and Korey decided to go along with him. Part 4 has to be the most painful to watch because it examines Korey’s life. I will not spoil the ending for you guys, but I implore you to please watch this mini-series on Netflix if you haven’t already. This movie delves into abuse of authority, mental, physical and emotional abuse, sexual assault, false accusations, coercing of victims and the dehumanization of these young men. I also love how they discuss Korey’s MTF (transgender male to female) sister, Marcia, formerly known as Norman. I loveddddd this mini-series and I love how it evokes conversation. We need to discuss the unjust criminalization and vilification of black people. We were dealt with a difficult hand. Being in a black body is not easy at all. I recently watched Spike Lee’s “BlackkKlansman”, which was loosely based on a black criminal detective that went undercover to disrupt terroristic plans of the KKK. The Black Panther movement was also referenced and please do not listen to those claims that Black Panthers are terrorists. BLACK PANTHERS WERE NOT TERRORISTS. Black Panthers stood for the socio-economic and physical wellness of black people. They fed many black people, clothed them and provided knowledge and wisdom. Many Black Americans did not have to rely solely on welfare because of the Black Panther’s contributions. However, the government needed (and still needs) to keep blacks captive or feeling helpless, so that the powers that be can take advantage without pushback. There was also the MOVE bombing, that happened right here in Philadelphia. According to Mashable, “The black liberation group MOVE was founded in 1972 by John Africa (born Vincent Leaphart). Living communally in a house in West Philadelphia, members of MOVE all changed their surnames to Africa, shunned modern technology and materialism, and preached support of animal rights, revolution and a return to nature. Members continued to rack up violations from contempt of court to illegal possession of firearms, to the point where they were considered a terrorist organization by the mayor and police commissioner. Arriving with arrest warrants for four residents of the house, the police ordered them to come out peacefully. Before long, shooting began. Despite pleas for deescalation to the mayor from City Council President Joseph Coleman and State Senator Hardy Williams, Police Commissioner Gregore Sambor gave the order to bomb the house.” (Arbuckle, A.).  Can you believe that a police commissioner gave an okay to BOMB a block in Philly? It just goes to show how the black life is so worthless to America. Our ancestors did not have a choice in becoming enslaved people. Because we are not descendants of slaves, we are descendants of enslaved people. When we use the word “slave” it removes the humanity from those who were enslaved. As black people, I believe we are an amazing people. We constantly endure, but we continue to break the mold and push boundaries. I am for the advancement of my people as a whole and we must stick together and uplift one another in order to survive in this sometimes cruel world. In final analysis, I implore you all to watch “When They See Us”, “BlackkKlansmen” and the MOVE documentary. Please learn more about black revolutionaries like Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, Marcus Garvey, Ida B. Wells, James Baldwin, Florence Joyner, and Mae Jemison. There are so many incredible black women and men, who have endured racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, prejudice in the workplace, ageism and many other issues. By the way, it is Pride Month so happy Pride Month. Also, Happy Black Music Month! Our rich culture is incomparable and I pray that you all have a wonderful summer. God bless you all and I wish you the very best!

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