I read Emily's Open Call today, and felt that whatever I write now is going to be how I feel, no matter which way the Mehserle verdict goes.
No one here needs a reason to riot.
No one here needs a reason to rise up and complain.
No one here needs a reason to kill.
It is "as it is" as Tupac sang in The Ghetto Gospel.
When they do eventually riot, and they will , it will not only be for the outcome of the trial. They will rise up , because they need to be heard. They want the world to feel their pain.
The world is not right here. Grandmothers and mothers raise the children in poverty and violence. There is so much anger as they grow up, that history keeps repeating itself over and over. In very few instances does life change on the street.
Fathers disappear, and the young males grow up to be young warriors. Young warriors go to church every Sunday, yet the rest of their week is full of violence. They feel that God's hand is on them to continue a life that really has no meaning.
I have watched drug bust after drug bust only to see the same people go back to that same life the next day.
I have seen a 19 year old boy shot in the stomach so many times by the police that you would have thought his number was up. When they finally caught him hiding in his grandmother's house he was hauled out on a stretcher with his hands up in the air for victory. The neighbourhood roared in unison, and cheered him on.
I have seen a drug dealer on a bicycle get caught by the police, and in one split instant, once again, the neighbourhood filed out of their homes - rallied around him and become an angry mob. A mob so huge, that Oakland and Berkeley police had to be present.
I have been mugged. I have had a gun pulled on me . I have rolled across my living room floor while gunshots were fired outside my window, yet I am not afraid.
No, I am not afraid because, like them I fight to survive. I too , have the Ghetto Gospel.
There is no right or wrong here. People jump from frying pan to frying pan just trying to survive. There is no peace for people that are hell bent on being heard. They honestly feel in their hearts they cannot be recognized without violence or guns.
So when the verdict comes in they will fill the streets . All I can do is pray for peace for the hearts of these young warriors.
For you see, as Tupac said, that is the Gospel Ghetto.
Images and words- Linda Seccaspina 2010