Tag Archive | Chicago violence

We Just Don’t Get It

Air JordanA story recently broke in Houston as police were called to the Willowbrook mall to ward off a potential riot. There was also a report of 4 arrested in New York for fighting in a crowd. This chaos wasn’t created because of a protest in the name of justice. Windows on the mall weren’t broken due to angry looters. No, these events occurred because of a shoe: The Air Jordan 11 Retro “Legend Blue”, to be exact.

Today, as Demario Bailey’s twin brother, Demarcio, celebrates his 16th birthday without his brother and, as the family struggles to pay for his funeral, I can’t help but wonder what’s wrong with the Black Community’s priorities?

Barely three weeks ago, riots and protests surged following the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson- accused of shooting unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. As the Black Community reeled with disappointment and anger many people began to seek ways create to solidarity and get justice. Then about a week later, in early December, NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo was not indicted on the chokehold death of Eric Holder.

As anger spilled into streets all over the country, a movement to keep black dollars in the community began. There was the ‘Boycott Black Friday’ Movement, which, wasn’t very successful. There were posts on Facebook from black businesses asking for support of their products. There was even a call to not purchase on Cyber Monday. Today, seeing the news clip of the hordes of black people lined up to receive a purchase voucher to buy the $200.00 shoes made me angry. Once again, we just don’t get it.

First, let’s talk about the fact that for years- dating back to the late 80s, people have been dying after being robbed of Air Jordans. When Nike releases a ‘specialty’ shoe (as they did last year as well), people become violent in crowded lines just to purchase them. Now, in December 2014 we are still stepping over each other to purchase a $200.00 tennis shoe.

Second, let’s talk about money. According to the Neilson Company, Black spending power is expected to reach 1.1 trillion dollars in 2015. The lifespan of a dollar in the Black community is 6 hours compared to 20 days for Jews, a month for Asians, and 17 days for whites. How can we have that much buying power and have no wealth?

It’s very surreal to be reeling from yet another senseless death of a child – this one a robbery victim, witness weeks of “Justice for Mike Brown” and “I Can’t Breathe”, to witnessing this spectacle of materialistic spending – and the violence that it created. We have to get our priorities straight. Michael Jordan has more money than he will ever spend in his lifetime and Nike (and other companies) is going to use him (and other ‘celebrities’) to milk the Black Community until we wake up and stop trying to outspend each other.

Instead of standing for hours pushing and shoving each other, we need to focus on the real problems in our community. I’m sure Demarcio Bailey would appreciate the effort.

©2014 Kim R. Woods
All rights reserved

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Who Will Speak

Who will speak?
Who will speak for the tears that fall without a voice–
Grieving laughter, and kisses—without heartbeats or choices?
Who will speak when anguish walks among the broken shards of yesterday–
Leaving seed that death cultivated by bullet or, one whose lodestar has violently faded?
Who will speak for Jasmine Curry, Marcel Pearson, Bruce Wright, William Allen, Tonya Gunn, Joey Henderson, Jaynisha Scheffer, Cassius White?

Who speaks now?
Who speaks now when blood indiscriminately hews burrows into the soul of the city?
The silence is a sonic boom reverberating through the pain of the fallen
For their lives were just yesterday’s news—chains broken forever rippling throughout mankind
Who speaks now?
Who will speak for Robert Cotton, Anthony Hobson, Kezon Lamb, Donald Ray, Schiquille Slater, Joel Bentley, Deandre Brown, Shaquille Ross, Corey Hudson, Shambreyh Barfield?
Hugs that will never again be felt, a helping hand that will never be shared, and a calling never to be fulfilled
Every life touches a life
Links shattered in life’s chain and their absence will never be replaced

Who will speak?
Who will speak for the nameless and faceless ones whose names escape us when the channel turns?
Who. Will. Speak for Dakari Pargo, Jimero Starling, Lafayette Walton, Michael Patton, Ronnie Amos, Alfred Barnett, Tony Ervin, Albert Glover, Eddie Jones, Sonny Ortiz, Sharon Bonds, Andre Knight?
Who will speak for them as we fluff our pillow and be thankful it wasn’t our mother, father, son, or daughter?

Who will speak for Ovadiyah Chandler, Christopher Jones, Stanley Levy, Dekarlos Scott, Taurus Williams, Demarcus Boswell, Daniel Jones, Maurice Wooden, Brandon Peterson, Louis Winn, Dewey Knox, Damian Williams, Brett Ewing, Paris Brown, LaQuisha Hickman, Nykole Loving, Kennyone Pendelton ?
Who will speak?
As the wind braces for impact as bullets rape its peace—unable to shield the lung, the artery, or the brain from penetration?
Who speaks in order to quell the anger and savagery as it claims that which is more precious than diamonds?
Who will speak for, Brian Weekly, Carnesha Fort, Alante Vallejo, Derrick Bowens, Ronald Holliman, Darrien Jordan, David M. Hernandez, Denero Appleton, Eric Kall, DeAngelo Russell, Donald Williams, Nicholas Keener, McArthur Swindle?

Who will speak?
Who will speak with action that rails against the lies that say wrong place- wrong time?
Place being where they are at a moment. Wrong place their home? Wrong place their school? Wrong place the playground? Oh no, maybe it’s the walk to the store, or sitting in a car?
Yes, wrong place is any place…
Whose wrong place? Charles D. Short’s? Betty Howard’s? Craig Mitchell’s? Malcolm Stuckey’s? Paul Pyron’s? Vincent Simmons’? Lance Stanton’s? Monte Tillman’s? Arron Feazell’s? Dashawn Johnson’s? Corteze Reed’s?

Or Time defined as “the system of those sequential relations that any event has to any other, as past, present, or future. Wrong time at noon? Wrong time at 3pm? Wrong time at 11pm? 6am?
Of course, wrong time is any time…
Whose wrong time? Maurice Paschal’s? Kevin Diaz’s? Brian McKinney’s? Robert Waldon’s? Lewis Jenkins’s? Juwan Williams’? Leonard Goldman’s? Kayshaun Hall’s, Ashley Mendoza’s? Kendall Floyd’s? Charles Lee’s? Aaron Rushing’s?
As we contemplate the significance of time and place, faces are passing away. For-e-ver.

Who will speak?
As the footfalls of terror march down our streets?
Or for those whom the blotter calls reciting names as the dead man falls.

As the media portrays us as one to be mistrusted after all, we are but animals in this world.
Some sold drugs, others gang-banged, some raised hell with every breath,
There’s also the straight A students, babies, grandparents— mix them all together—it doesn’t really matter
They – like we—are ALL blood, bone, flesh and spirit. Life interrupted
No longer among us
Who will speak for Gabriel Rios, Victoria McManus, Vaughn Holeman, Cesar Nieves, Xavier Tripp, Summer Moore, William Lomax, Chasteddy Blocker, Jajuan Porter, Gerald Calhoun, William Bailey, Terrance McNeal, Jabari Davis,

Because their loss is our failure as a civilized existence
They die as we exhort “not this neighborhood”; “they deserve it”; “it’s not my problem”
As we turn our backs on a dying generation
Our children run for cover from indiscriminate munitions
That rain down upon them, etching their name as it meets its mark

Who will speak?
Who will speak for the hundreds lost in this city
As we cover our ears from the screams of the crying and dying
Who will speak for them? Rickey Hayes, Antonio Mendez, Jeromy Ellis
After their eyes glass over and consciousness forever cascades to black

The Windy City, Chi-Town- Chiraq is a new moniker spoken with irony and fear
Its violent heart pulsating in tandem with its namesake across the Atlantic
Decimating all in its wake
ChiRaq, ChiRaq, Chiraq
Who will speak?
Who will speak for the tears that fall without a voice–
Grieving laughter, and kisses—without heartbeats or choices?
They matter because we matter.
Who will speak?

Kim Rosemon Woods
©2014 All rights reserved