Hey Tucson, hey. Adiba here, and I'm coming to you with a heavy, 50lb heart.
Alton Sterling. Philando Castile.
As someone on Twitter said, "another day, another hashtag," and I can't wrap my mind around this. For some reason these two deaths have hit me harder and deeper than any of the countless deaths of Black men and women that have come before them. I have watched the video of every death prior to these. I've listened to countless audio tapes. I've listened to Trayvon Martin beg for someone, ANYONE to help; his screams heard through closed doors, brick frame homes and transmitted clearly over a telephone line into a 911 operator's ear. I've watched Walter Scott get shot in the back by a police officer as he ran for his life. I've witnessed via the terrors of YouTube as Laquan MacDonald had 17 bullets pumped into his body—execution by legal firing squad. So, watching my brothers die at the hands of corrupt police officers is not new to me—it has come to be part of the narrative of 2013 - ???.
But what was it about these two men? Is it because this time I witnessed the "what happened before" that people are always talking about? Is it because I saw Alton Sterling standing there, not resisting arrest, before being tackled to the ground like a linebacker? It because I watched the police officer put the gun to his chest more than once, watched him pull the trigger, and then watched life leave this man's body? Is it because Philando Castile's girlfriend invited me into her loved ones last moments on this earth, and I watched yet another soul float away? Is it because his 4-year-old daughter was still strapped into her carseat when her daddy was gunned down before her eyes? Or is it because I then listened to this same 4-year-old girl console her mother in the back of a police car, as she mourned the death of her loved one. This baby didn't even get to mourn. She was placed in the role of protector. At 4-years-old she unearthed the role of "saving grace." This shouldn't happen. This should never happen. It hasn't happened here.
But it can.
Tucson, I am a Black woman. I live here. I walk amongst you every day. It can happen to me. I have a 20-year-old brother who lives here. I have three nephews that live here, ages five, one and two. My three sisters live here. My mother lives here.
We all live here. We don't look like the majority of you—only about 5 percent of Tucson is Black. But we are here—which means that like you, WE ARE TUCSON. Collectively. What you do to the least of us, you do to all of us. So I must ask, what are we doing collectively to make sure that my brother, YOUR brother, is not the next Philando Castile? What are we going to do collectively to make sure that my nephews, YOUR nephews, do not become the next Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Alton Sterling? What are we going to do COLLECTIVELY to make sure that I, the woman writing this article, am not the next Sandra Bland?
Because if I am the next Sandra Bland, then so are you.
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Tucson Police Chief Magnus via Daily Kos
If you would like to be part of the solution, please join the local chapter of Black Lives Matter on Saturday, July 9 at Armory Park. There will be a vigil and healing circle taking place, starting at 6 p.m. For more information please click here.