In 2016 our world as we knew it was turned upside down when we learned of the death of Antwon Shumpert. Being from a small town in Tupelo ,MS it would appear that we would know everyone . And though it may be true in some respects is not always the case . When they first mentioned his name on that rainy Father’s Day morning , my heart dropped as I figured out that not only did I know him, I knew his family very well.
I knew his mother, his sisters and his brother. His mother was a faithful client of my mother’s hair salon , she was a fixture in my life for more than 30 years. His sisters and my brother attended the same college and we sang in that college’s gospel choir together. Antwan , or Ronnie as we knew him , was murdered in cold blood in my City in my hometown . Right in the neighborhood where I grew up just two streets over from my family home. Being from that neighborhood and riding my bike through the neighbor so often I couldn’t understand the validity of his murder. I had questions, we all wanted answers.
That Summer we marched, talked, yelled , cried, prayed and screamed for justice not just for his wrongful death , we were marching for Justice for his children, his wife and those who could experience the same fate . Unfortunately our cries were not heard, the marching stopped, the rallies ended . The scale of justice was not balanced in our favor. Days after I read news story after news story of individual black males who have had the same fate. My heart and mind was grieved , not just because its another death , its the fact that again its at the hands of those who are there to protect and to serve. In 2016 1093 individuals were killed at the hands of police , 6.6 percent of them were black.
One day as I was scrolling down facebook I saw a lone post about another young man who’s name happened to be Antwon Rose. This young man who was killed at the hands of the police just because he was running. What struck me with interest was his age. See he was born in 2000. My son, the one who just graduated from high school was born in the year 2000 as well . I was allowed the opportunity to shower Peyton with love and attention during his graduation and now we are preparing for his first semester of college. Antwon could have been my son. And unfortunately his mother couldn’t celebrate with him as he graduated from high school ,instead she prepared his funeral. He was shot for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Are we guilty by association…maybe . But should our lives be taken just because of the association?
In this year alone 237 blacks have been killed by the hands of the police. This years 457 whites have been killed so it seems like they are the one’s who should be protesting and marching , but look at the statistics of our nation , there are over 247 million white people in the United States and only 37 million black /non Hispanics in the US. What does this mean? It means that there is either a problem with these numbers or there is a problem with our criminal justice system.
In many of these cases these individuals are shot either at close range or in the back . Which is how Antwon was shot, 3 times in the back as he fled the car in fear of what could happen to him . He was not the driver , he had not committed any crime , they found nothing on him . Shot three times for no reason. His only wish in life was that he wouldn’t become a statistic and that his mother wouldn’t have to bury him young . Why was he running …he was afraid. We are always painted in a picture as a thug, a misfit , a threat to our society but in the words of Antwon Rose sometimes we are just, “confused and afraid.” Basically…Tesha