“Every young black male who was in the park last night is suspect in the rape of that woman who is fighting for her life”
Words spoken directly from the Controversial Netflix Series “When They See Us.” Directed by Ava DuVernay.
Watching the first 15 minutes I was at a loss for my words. I had to stop and pause the show and ask myself what was really happening . Was this prosecutor really accusing 13 and 14 year old boys of raping and brutally beating a woman in the park. With no evidence, and no witnesses! And a father who would sit and force his son to LIE assuming that he would be spared if he blamed the other accused boys for this horrendous crime.
My heart was and is broken. To know that our black men have absolutely no chance. No chance to be seen or heard. No chance to a fair trial.
As I continued watching all I could see was the fear that these young boys had! A fear that they had been taught at home. Taught that our lives don’t matter ; so how dare we question or challenge authority. How dare we speak and say that we did not commit these crimes or any crime. How dare we stick together. And how dare we be innocent.
These boys were put into separate rooms, deprived of water and food, beaten and threatened into confessing the details of a crime they had no idea of. They were never aware of this woman jogging in the park and nor did they see her. They confessed to raping a woman and none of them had been sexually active. Yet, the one young man who seen the most time; Korey Wise, was unable to read well. His statement was written with the accounts of this crime that he couldn’t even recite in court but we the people were supposed to be persuaded he was guilty.
Kevin Richardson. Antron McCray, Raymond Santana Jr. Yusef Salaam, and Korey Wise. Five young men who had their innocence taken, their childhood ripped away from them. Finally being released as the real assailant confessed and was proven guilty by DNA. The repayment for taking the lives away from these INNOCENT men is $41 million dollars. But is that a reward? Does that give these men their lives back? Does it compensate for the mental , emotional and physical damage that these men will endure for the rest of their lives? Or does it say to black men that they are only worth the dollar amount the government is willing to pay for their sins.
No apology, nor remorse came from prosecutor Linda Fairstein. (Pictured Below) She wrongfully accused these boys and yet she gained millions off of their misery. Selling books and telling her heroic story on how she put these CHILDREN behind bars.
Watching “When They See US” has shined a brighter light on how disposable we are perceived to be in this world. It showed me that we are as guilty as the color of our skin and even when proven innocent we are undeserving of an apology, undeserving of protection by the very hands that are meant to serve in our favor. That we are ultimately only deserving of living a life filled with fear and anguish. Our men will always walk around looking over their shoulders, sleeping with one eye open and holding their hands in the air saying “don’t shoot.’’
We have been conditioned in fear, to mask our strengths so we do not intimidate others . Taught that in order to live we can’t question what we know deep down is injustice or fight without great consequence.
Jayden, Jaysiyah, Jamiah, and Terrence. All my sons, and all young black men ! Growing up in this world and can easily be accused of something as terrible as the Central Park 5. But what do we do as mothers, sisters, brothers, fathers? How do we EDUCATE our youth on how to handle themselves in these situations without bowing down and allowing this bullshit to continue? I don’t have all these answers but I do know sticking together is imperative to the survival of our men!