Fight this Hate shows a small selection of hate crimes and/or harassment that has taken place recently in the United States. Southern Poverty Law Center keeps detailed accounts of hate crimes. Colorlines tracks all manner of topics related to race and publishes them daily. The following incidents are only a small sample, and each includes a form of direct action.
Police Killing Black People
Two recent arrests of police officers involved in killing Black people may sound encouraging. More police departments are wearing video cameras. But this continues to be a dangerous world for Black people. Race may be a construct, but when your skin is dark, you can not expect to be protected by the police — who are sworn to serve and protect all citizens.
At least 492 people have been killed by the police so far in 2017. See the numbers for yourself, here.
Shaun King, of the New York Daily News, writes of three specific young men who were shot by police in May 2017. In each case, the police first put forth outright lies about what happened. We heard quite a lot about the case in Dallas of the young man who was a passenger in a car leaving a party. When 15-year-old Jordan Edwards was recently shot and killed by a police officer in suburban Dallas, we first heard that the car in which he was a passenger attempted to mow down the police officer who repeatedly fired his rifle into the vehicle. Upon reviewing the body camera footage of the incident, the Balch Springs Police Chief then openly stated that the initial narrative was a complete fabrication. They first fired the officer and later charged him with murder.
In Bridgeport, Connecticut another 15-year-old young man was shot and killed by the police. First they said he had run over a police officer with a car, and he had been killed by a single shot to his head. But when the film came out with the truth, we learned that Jayson Negron had been shot in the torso and allowed to bleed out on the ground, handcuffed. The officer was never even hit by the car, but said he felt he was in danger of being sucked under it.
On May 27th, yet another 15-year-old young man was shot multiple times and killed in Los Angeles by the US Customs and Border Patrol. An officer, out of uniform, claims three boys tried to rob him. He shot two of them, both in the back, and killed Darius Smith. The boys were unarmed, and allegedly a toy gun was found “near them.” The other two boys were fourteen. None of them had prior history with the police, or reputations of being trouble.
Carry your smart phone. Video anything you see the police doing. If it’s a harmful act, report it. Use your ACLU app to film so the video goes directly to them.
When ‘Free Speech’ Kills
In Portland, Oregon a man claiming his right to free speech was verbally attacking two Black teenage women, one in a hijab, when three (maybe four) white men stepped in to protect the young women. The attacker had a knife. He slit the throats of two men, stabbed another. [It has been reported that the first man to step in escaped unscathed.]
Portland Mercury News reported on the incident, and will follow up on the upcoming white supremacist “Trump Free Speech” rally being protested on June 4th. Portland’s mayor tried to get the rally stopped, but failed. Free speech means all citizens have a right to voice their opinions, so long as the opinions are expressed peacefully.
People have donated generously to the men (and their families) who stood up and were killed or injured. The young women who were the objects of the attacker can use your support. Here is the link to the fund sourcing page for them.
Sandra de Helen, author of the lesbian thriller Till Darkness Comes also pens the Shirley Combs/Dr. Mary Watson series. She is a poet, journalist, and a playwright. Her plays have been produced in the Philippines, Ireland and Canada, Chicago, New York City, and in thirteen states. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Dramatists Guild. Her books are available online, at Another Read Through Bookstore in Portland, Oregon, and Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego. Samples of her work are available on her website.