I am looking at his photograph now.
His eyes are sincere, pure.
His smile is sweet, humble.
He looks just like his parents describe him: “a loving child with a humble and sharing spirit.”
He is Jordan Edwards.
Or maybe I should say he “was” Jordan Edwards, because he is no longer among the living.
Edwards has joined an involuntarily club of Black males who have been gunned down by police. Shot dead by individuals who take an oath to protect and serve.
But who are these officers really protecting, and what purpose are they serving?
Edwards was a straight-A student who excelled in sports. He was kind, had great manners and was known as someone who easily united and motivated his peers. He had an “indescribably strong bond with his family, especially his siblings. And he was raised by two loving parents … who are married and live in the same house.”
But do any of those things really matter? I don’t think so. By most accounts, Edwards didn’t fit the stereotypical profile of an individual who is killed by law enforcement.
But even if he did fit the stereotype, it wouldn’t justify being wrongfully killed by law enforcement. Nothing justifies that.
So here we are in the first week of May 2017, and another Black person has been killed by the police. According to Color Of Change, Edwards is the 105th Black person killed by law enforcement this year. That many killings only five months in to 2017 is scary, however, what is even more frightening is the number of killings we will see in the upcoming months.
I won’t get into all the details of Edwards’ murder — like how the cop lied about the course of actions that led to him firing his rifle into the teenager’s head, only to be discredited when his body-cam was viewed and completely contradicted his claim.
There’s no need to discuss the particulars, because they have been discussed before relative to the deaths of Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin … the list could go on and on.
What I want to talk about is the fact that these senseless killings keep occurring. When will the American public be as alarmed and upset about the wrongful death of Black males as they are about a passenger being aggressively escorted off an airplane?
Black lives do indeed matter, but it won’t truly resonate with America in a way that sparks real action until white mouths shout the mantra just as loudly. But it takes more than simple lip service; there needs to be a clear, identifiable plan in place to eliminate such blatant racism.
But can that happen? The optimist in me says, “Heck yeah, it can!” But the realist in me says, “I’m not so sure.”
Look at our country. Hatred, disrespect and ugliness are front and center. And now that we have a president who touted divisiveness and disrespect, such actions are out in the open in very overt ways.
Look at how MLB player Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles was treated recently. He was repeatedly called the N-word and even had a bag of peanuts thrown at him while he was in the dugout as his team played the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
One sports writer said Jones “has proudly represented his country, done extensive community work in his adopted Baltimore and native San Diego and generally acted as a model for how a 21st-century athlete should conduct himself.”
Should his positive nature be a determination as to whether or not he is discriminated against?
In order to eliminate the ugliness of this world that minorities (and not just ethnic minorities) endure, we must all come together and advocate for what’s right and against what is wrong. And we must hold the wrongdoers accountable for their actions. Only then will we begin to see a reduction in the maltreatment of marginalized people.
SHANNON WILLIAMS @IndyRecorder