And They Ask Me Why

By Taylor Vinson - The Black Bear

Last night, another black boy was killed. Shot at 17 times, a baby boy was killed. Every 28 hours a black boy is killed. And they ask me, why am I in tears. They ask me, why am I still here. They ask me, why.

And I’m asking too.

Last night eighteen year old Vonderrick Myers was fatally shot and killed by a police officer in Saint Louis, Missouri. The police claims that Myers had approached the officer in an aggressive manner and then reached for his waistband for the gun that he used to shoot at the police officer, but witnesses agree that was not the case at all. Witnesses claim Myers went to the corner store on Shaw Boulevard to buy a sandwich, which the officer believed to be a gun. Witnesses also agree Myers was unarmed. So who do we believe?

Last night, another black boy was killed. Shot at 17 times, a baby boy was killed. Every 28 hours a black boy is killed.

October 9th I went down with my friends to Shaw Boulevard where Myers’ was shot. There was a vigil there that led into a march on Grand Boulevard. Protesters shouted “If we don’t get it, shut it down”, “No justice, no peace”, etc. I watched the anger of black men and women spill out into the streets like ink chanting, “These are our streets.” Those who don’t understand the grueling pains of living while Black don’t understand the love rooted in our speech.

We are powerful. Demanding. Passionate.
Lovers of our people.

It’s been 61 days since the killing of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson and the youth there have still been active in protesting for the indictment of police officer Darren Wilson who fatally shot Brown six times during an altercation.

Where is Darren Wilson?
Who are the police protecting?

These are the questions protesters want to know.

Last night, another black boy was killed. Shot at 17 times, a baby boy was killed. Every 28 hours a black boy is killed.

As a black woman, I’m afraid to imagine how it feels to see your lifeless son lie in the middle of the street for hours and to be later thrown into the back of a truck like an animal. Can you imagine raising a black child in a world that’s constantly telling them, “You’re not good enough, you won’t make it” and to finally have your child do it and graduate from high school when his other peers didn’t? And to see him lie in the street like his life was still so unworthy? Because black boys who like to wear their pants down with no criminal record are still thugs. My soul is in mourning for all this black blood spilled and dried into the streets like some kind of dark wax. Black blood is not for the country to pour out and run over. Black blood is not so thin.

And they ask me, why am I in tears. They ask me, why am I still here. They ask me why.
And I’m asking too.

They burned the flag tonight. The smell tasted like more than 100 years of anger and sounded
like the cry of injustice, like saying “Let’s burn down the oppression in this country and build a new one.”

So why am I here?

I am American. Sometimes, I do not feel welcome in my own home. We are African-American, but we are in America alone. We are too strong, we’ve grown, fighting back against what’s wrong. There are black bodies being shed in broad daylight and no one else seems to see the problem with it. And the flag burns on.

Why am I in tears?

My nephew plays in the middle of the street sometimes and I am afraid for him. My best friend
walks to the corner store sometimes and I am afraid for him. My cousins like to play music loud and dance, play with toy guns, look at girls, be boys, drive cars, ask neighbors for help, breathe, eat, think, be human, be alive, be black, and I am afraid for them.

And you ask me why?

Why are they building prisons based on the low reading levels of African-American boys? Why women are afraid to have black sons because they’re afraid for their futures? Why institutional racism is keeping black men from financing their families? Why expressing injustice is referred to as the “race card?” Why protesting must be done peacefully, when our black sons are dying? Why every 28 hours a black boy is killed by a police officer? Why we’re not allowed to be angry about it?

Well, I’m asking too.

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