This is the piece I wrote for the Guardian on Terence Crutcher.
I have not been able to sleep since I learned about his shooting/murder. Sometimes I’ve just burst into tears, and I never met the man.
I’m just almost 40, a big guy, and Black. So maybe I have met him.
It was edited for length and content but I also wanted to share with you the original “Last Testament.” I want to assure you I don’t ascribe to respectability politics, however knowing the triggers the mainstream media uses to snare Black victims of police overreach often face, I included everything I knew that would go against the stereotypes that are often used to condemn Black men and women to death, to claim that our lives weren’t as worthy of saving…expressed clearly or covertly. Know that I love you sisters and brothers, and we must work together to fight injustice. When I see white, Native, Latinx, etc. people being treated in similar ways I can’t help but think this is a backlash against an America that some don’t want to see take hold. We need to work together to end this as soon as possible. I’m scared…we are living in a time when water is not sacred and dogs are being sicced on Native children, when Black hands up doesn’t matter, when misogyny sells t-shirts, when poverty is aided and abetted by greed, when walls take precedence over understanding, and homophobia murders people in clubs. We need a healing. Now.
Anyway, please read the piece and reflect on these words:
Please everybody listen…
If they ever get their hands on me..
I will sit silently until it’s over. But if they kill me..
Please bear witness that I was not “one bad dude.”
Please fight for my character.
Remind them I loved to read and I loved to create community.
Tell them that I was never arrested or detained for a crime, never owned a firearm, and that despite her history, I loved the South.
Tell them I did not do drugs, abuse alcohol, and that I was a father to many, baby daddy to none, teacher of torah.
Remind them I was a teddy bear and not a beast to shoot.
Remind them I worked to do good things and that I wrote a book and that I was a quote on a Smithsonian museum wall, a TED speaker, that I quoted Shakespeare verbatim in front of an audience of 2000 in London, spoke at Oxford University, and that I touched the Western Wall twice and spoke at Yale 3 times.
Tell them I wasn’t “one bad dude,”
Tell them I was a strong, Black man.