Over the past couple of days we have worked with our chapters on the ground and received constant updates regarding their efforts and actions surrounding the reprehensible tragedy of another father, husband, provider and community member stolen. That’s how we at the 100 Black Men of America Inc. feel about the killing of Alton Sterling at the Triple S Food Mart, just 70 yards from the doorstep of the 100 Black Men of America of Greater Baton Rouge Limited, Ltd.
Rather than being outraged, for far too many there has been some rationalization or even justification of why this father was murdered. John Bel Edwards, Louisiana’s governor, whose brother, father, grandfather and great-grandfather have all served as sheriffs of his home parish of Tangipahoa, said he is “disturbed” by the video of the killing. To those, who feel as if their people are being exterminated with impunity, disturbed doesn’t begin to express our feelings.
According to a Washington Post data base that tracks such shootings, Sterling’s death, at the time this was first written, was the 505th fatal police shooting by an on-duty officer in 2016. You can make that 506 now with the killing of Philando Castile Wednesday in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Multiple data bases reveal unarmed black people were killed at a rate of more than 5 times the rate of unarmed whites in 2015. Only 10 of the 102 cases in 2015 where an unarmed black person was killed by police resulted in an officer(s) being charged with a crime; and only 2 of these deaths (Matthew Ajibade and Eric Harris) resulted in convictions of the officers involved. Of these, only 1 of the 2 officers convicted for their involvement in Matthew Ajibade’s death received jail time. He was sentenced to 1 year in jail and allowed to serve this time exclusively on weekends.
To those, who have now seen this same disgusting and offensive behavior time and time again, with little to no accountability, it is horrific; and any suggestion that people feeling anything less is a showing of naked hostility towards rationale thought.
When will the slaughter of African Americans by those sworn to protect and serve us end?
Governor Edwards, has called for calm. The 100 is calling for productive engagement by our community that yields real solutions to the very real problem of black men not surviving encounters with people who have been sworn to protect them. We have and will continue to galvanize voting contingents to hold our political and community leaders accountable for these failures. We are expanding our involvement at all levels of law enforcement and within communities to keep our family members and children safe. We are not standing idly by, as these travesties continue.
Failure to get engaged will yield the same results – another hundred husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, family and community members cold on the sidewalk or in the street.