LOUIS ‘HOP’ KENDRICK
A tremendous number of us constantly refer to people who are incarcerated as “those people.” It is imperative that we be reminded that those people are our people—our sons, daughters, parents, and relatives and could potentially be one of us.
Of course there are those who should be punished and incarcerated, but on the other hand there are those who are incarcerated because they are Black, poor and unable to hire competent attorneys. Then we should also remember there are those people described as political prisoners. A perfect example is the great Nelson Mandela who was incarcerated for 27 years.
Almost every family has a family relative who is close or a fifth cousin, who has been imprisoned. Some people question me, and say you don’t understand. But I do because one of my brothers and one of my nephews were incarcerated in jail.
This week’s column is the result of several letters sent to me from Donald W. Scott, who is incarcerated in Somerset, Pa., and I was reminded of the circumstances that sent him to prison, and the 25 reputable people who were character witnesses in his behalf. Donald did not write me to plead his case, but more so to inform me that there are a number of inmates, who not only read the Courier, but have some serious concerns about the upcoming generation and how they can collectively send money for a worthwhile project that would benefit our youth. These people are to be commended, because they could just as easily take their money and energy and do something else with them.
A vast number of us have never had any kind of confrontation with a police officer and they become somewhat confused when they read and hear others criticize police actions, but if they continue to live the possibility exists that they will have a police encounter.
One of the many run-ins that I had with police stands out. I was pulled over in my truck and asked to produce my identification, which I did. As the conversation continued I asked the officer why was I being detained and he threw my identification on the ground and jumped upon his motorcycle and drove off. I jumped into my truck and followed him to the police station and reported his action to the officer in charge at the station. He listened politely and then simply said, “It takes all kind of people to even make a police force.” So when you read about an incident in the newspaper or watch it on TV do not pass judgment in all situations, because it all may not be true.
Brother W. Scott I can only say, “stay strong and keep on keeping on.”
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(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)
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