Dear Black Men,
Answer your phones.
I saw on the news that a Black man named Botham Jean got killed while eating a bowl of ice cream on HIS couch in HIS apartment by a White female police officer. She said that it was an accident, but she performed no life-saving measures to save his life, even though she was trained to do it.
I heard on the radio that a Black man named Eric Garner sold cigarettes in front of a beauty supply store, and the police killed him for it. Even after he told the White officer that he couldn’t breathe, the officer wouldn’t let Garner’s neck go. His dead body was also left out in the street as a tourist attraction.
I saw the video where a Black man named Alton Sterling was selling CDs in front of a convenience store. Consequently, the White police officer blew his chest out of his back. It didn’t take long for past, unrelated events to surface, which was used to justify the police killing him in cold blood.
There was a… CHILD… unarmed… by the name of Trayvon Martin who wore a hoodie, eating a bag of Skittles. In the process of walking home, he was killed by a mixed ethnic grown man. The man walked away untouched and uncharged.
The calmness and fear that invaded the same space of Diamond Reynold’s body as she watched a policeman kill her boyfriend Philando Castile will always ring in my ears. He told them that he was legally carrying a weapon which was located by his license and registration that was being requested of him. He was killed by the White officer as he reached for the documents while his girlfriend's 4 year old daughter was in the backseat.
George Floyd, like Eric Garner, made the officers aware that he couldn’t breathe. That didn’t stop the White officer from kneeling in Mr. Floyd’s neck for five minutes, cutting off air flow. He kneeled in Floyd's neck while his hand was resting in his pocket, chilling and relaxing. As Floyd died, the cop relaxed... Four officers have been fired, but not charged with...anything.
Ahmaud Arbery wasn’t the first nor only person to observe this particular house being built. As a matter of fact, people observe the sites of houses being built all the time. That is a lot of people’s favorite pastime. But that got Mr. Arbery hunted down and killed. He had left the scene, but he was chased down until no life remained in his body… because he stepped foot in an unoccupied dwelling.
In a lot of these instances, Black men doing what they regularly do got them killed. In all of these instances, death to the Black men… and child… should not have been the sentence. They all had plans for later that day. Their families all had plans to reconvene with them.
So, Black Men, when you see us calling you, please answer your phones. Please text back. Please FaceTime. Please do something to let us know that you are still with us. Please. We live in constant fear that you will be another hashtag.
Please answer us, and tell us how we’re tripping. Please answer us, and tell us that we’re doing too much. Please answer us, and tell us how we’re so dramatic. Please answer us, and tell us how we do the most.
It’s bigger than us wanting to know “WYD”. It’s more than us wanting to know “WYA” and “Who you wit”. It goes beyond “What time are you coming home?”
It is an “Are you still alive?” “If I don’t hear from you by 10, should I be worried?” It is merely a “Let me know that you still have life residing in you.”
Dear Black Men, please answer your phones.