A Tale of Two “Rough Rides”

JamesByrdJr.
James Byrd, Jr.

Rough ride #1: On June 7th, 1998 James Bryd, Jr. was the victim of an unthinkably brutal, hate-motivated murder. A gang of white supremacists–a modern-day lynch mob–chained him to the back of their truck and dragged him for three and a half miles until his arm was severed and he was decapitated by a culvert. One of his murderers was executed in 2011. Another was given life in prison. The third has a death sentence on hold pending appeal.

Freddie Gray
Freddie Gray

Rough ride #2: On April 19, 2015 Freddie Carlos Gray, Jr. died in police custody following an illegal arrest. He was not afforded even a modicum of the most basic respect for human life and compassion by his executioners. His cries for vital medical attention fell on deaf ears as he was subjected to a state-sanctioned “rough ride” that severed his spine. Six officers now face charges in his death. (As an aside, could you imagine them facing charges if the people hadn’t risen up in rebellion in Baltimore? I doubt it.)

Media reports have revealed that “rough ride” tactics are a commonplace for law enforcement across the country. Black men are still without sanctuary in this country. Freddie Gray’s killers must face the consequences of their murderous actions.

A Dream Deferred, 2015

Deferred… no longer

I.

Invaded,
Assaulted,
Corralled,
Shackled,
Kidnapped.

Dehumanized,
Crammed,
Shipped,
Enslaved,
Exploited.

“Freed”,
Indentured,
Tricked,
Caricatured,
Betrayed.

Lynched,
Targeted,
Humiliated,
Demeaned,
Railroaded.

Profiled,
Slandered,
Patronized,
Marginalized,
Brutalized.

Stopped,
Frisked,
Bullied,
Clubbed,
Incarcerated.

Scapegoated,
Feared,
Hunted,
Shot,
Murdered.

II.

Unbroken,
Inspiring,
Beautiful,
Hopeful,
Determined.

Empowered,
Enlightened,
Enraged,
Exuberant,
Righteous.

Expectant,
Motivated,
Fierce,
Inspired,
Creative.

Followed,
Revered,
Emulated,
Adored,
Celebrated.

Marketed,
Re-branded,
Spun,
Portrayed,
Stereotyped.

Watched,
Heard,
Misrepresented,
Misunderstood,
Underestimated.

Resilient,
Resistant,
Rising,
No longer…
Deferred.