Today we should be celebrating Mark’s 34th birthday. Instead he was immortalized at 12 from a gunshot to the head. In recent years, every time Mark’s birthday or the day he was killed comes around, I’ve reminded myself to be grateful for his influence on my life.
Today is different. Today I’m battling disappointment and anger. The tragic story of what happened to Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin has warped into the story of Kyle Rittenhouse. For those that may not know, Kyle is a 17 year old kid who drove across state lines, murdered 2 people, shot and injured a third person, walked towards police while holding a rifle, and after giving some hand signals, was free to go. Yes, he has since been arrested and charged with 1st degree murder, but the fact remains that local police knew there were people shot and killed and yet they let him walk away from the scene. Meanwhile, Jacob Blake tried to intervene and stop a fight and a cop shoots him in the back SEVEN times in front of his 3 young sons.
When Mark was shot on February 5th, 1999, my life was changed. Mark’s killer, Brian, had stolen the gun from a family that we knew, shot Mark in the head, and tried to bury the gun. He was arrested and sent to jail. After a couple years, he was released. Kalief Browder spent more time in Rikers Island for ALLEGEDLY stealing a backpack!
I’m disappointed and angry because our system is bullshit. Police, and our entire judicial system, continue to terrorize the Black community as well as any allies, and yet welcome with open arms a young white kid who idolizes the badge. Kalief Browder spent more time in prison without a trial, than Brian did for murdering Mark. Brian Banks spent almost 6 years in prison for being falsely accused of rape, but Brock Turner spent 6 months in jail after being caught raping a young woman behind a dumpster. Breonna Taylor was sleeping when cops shot and killer her and they’ve not been held accountable.
To the Black community: I see you, I hear you, I stand with you. Black lives matter.
To the defensive whites: Stop talking, start listening, and show compassion.
To racists: Go talk to someone and work on your deep rooted insecurities.
To Mark: Happy birthday bud. I miss you.