Breathing While Black

Last week, I exchanged emails with a friend I worked with at the Peace Resource Center in Seaside.

A spiritual man, Akin served as board member, office volunteer, and curator of the center’s art gallery. He brought in a series of delightful exhibits by local artists to cover both long walls at the center. Akin told me he is still on the board of directors, but recently handed over the curating duties to another volunteer, and is using his volunteer time to spread the word about the murder of black men by police.

I’ve seen and read news reports about such tragedies that occurred earlier this year, but I don’t know much about the issue overall, so I asked Akin if he could send me information. He gave me his permission to quote his email messages in this blog post.

Akin posts on FaceBook. You can find his page under “James Miller (Akin)”
Hi Deanne,
I recently turned over the curating of the Art Gallery to a new board member. I have just finished helping the last artists on my schedule. I attend board meetings but I no longer do office duty.

I actually took a leave from the board in January to focus on #blacklivesmatter and the murders of black men by police. I had the opportunity to meet/hear Dr. Cornel West at CSUMB in April. Part of his speech dealt with how to maintain dignity in the midst of chaos. I’m reading his latest book titled Black Prophetic Fire (In dialogue with and edited by Christa Buschendorf.). He explores the genius of Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Ida B. Wells and others.

Please check my Facebook page ( James Miller ) as I post info on the acquittal of the policemen in Cleveland who, after a high speed chase involving many police cars, stopped a homeless black man and woman who were said to have been driving in the early morning looking for drugs.

The police began firing into the sides of the cars when the only officer charged jumped on the hood ( in Rambo style ) and pumped 47 rounds into the window shield, killing the passengers numerous times. He claims to have no recall of the event. He was acquitted.

Also in Cleveland, Tamir Rice, a 12 year old boy was murdered by a cop who responded to a 911 call where the person said a young black boy was waving a gun in a park and that it was probably a toy gun. The cop pulled up and, within 2 seconds, fired into the boy’s chest.

Google: Black men killed by police within the past 3 years. Amazing stories, many revealing that the victims probably suffered some form of mental illness. All were shot in the upper body indicating no intent to maim or disable the person, just shoot them like any other animal.

So far, in the U.S., police have a nearly 100% acquittal rate in the murders of mostly unarmed black men.


About Deanne E. Gwinn

Writer: screenplays, fiction, poetry
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