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187 or 10-71?: The Survival of a Black Man

BY: AMARIS LEVITT

*10-71 is police code for shooting*

*187 is police code for homicide*

George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Atatiana Jefferson, Aura Rosser, Stephon Clark, Botham Jean, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Michelle Cusseaux, Janisha Fonville, Akai Gurley, Gabriella Nevarez, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Tanisha Anderson, David McAtee, and many more of our fallen brothers and sisters have died at the hands of the police. 

It wasn't until recently that both American and global audiences have begun to believe the mourning and cries of Black Americans who have been grieving for centuries. When video evidence displays the vicious, heinous killings, treatments, and harassments by police officers towards Black Americans, the question still remains: When is enough, enough? When will Black lives truly matter? When will the killings stop?

Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old from Wisconsin, is one of few 21st century survival stories. America's tired and restless Black youth continue to protest Black Lives Matter; we want change, reform, defunding and police re-education, and to STOP KILLING BLACK AMERICANS ALTOGETHER. 

Blake is both the shock and relief for Black America. The police attempted to take his life but he survived. A survival that has enabled him to tell his story, his pain, his experience, from a summary execution by those who were to protect him.

Blake is seen in a bystander video walking around the front of his SUV in Kenosha, Wisconsin as an officer follows him with his weapon locked and loaded, and ready to go as if Blake is the most dangerous person in the world when in reality, he was called to break up a fight. As Blake had dissolved the fight and prepared to leave, opening his car door to get in, the officer opened fire at point-blank range and shot Blake seven times in the back. 

Seven times, not one, not a taser to deescalate the situation, but seven bullets of attempted murder. An attempted murder that his three sons will remember for the rest of their lives as they sat in the backseat of their father's car. Not even three full months of recovery for Black America when national news broke again of reports and coverage that another "Unarmed Black Man Fatally Shot by Police in Kenosha, Wisconsin." Yet, this time reports were wrong, Blake survived. 

We now must correct the way we refer to his story, it's not "A Black Man Was Fatally Shot in Kenosha," but now "A Black Man Who Survived in Kenosha." Yet, for our young brother 18-year-old Deon Kay who was fatally shot by the Metropolitan Police Department who passed a week later, this continuous normalization of our people dying is a racial pandemic. The problem we face is that it has become too normal to see Black men and women die at the hands of the police, meaning to see Jacob Blake live was something the American public was indifferent to. It's become too normal and we've become so numb where no more tears can be shed. Seeing Black Americans suffer from police brutality should never be normal. 

A country that upholds such ideologies of protectionism, nationalism, and equality always seems to forget those who built the country's foundation. Those who raised the country's founding fathers should never be disrespected, ignored, and disregarded. The screams and cries of our Black voice can only go so far, we need for America and the rest of the world to recognize, acknowledge, and reteach that the treatment and representation of what Black is because it's so much bigger than how we were forced to be perceived. That we are humans, nothing more, nothing less.

When eating, breathing, walking, dropping your kids off at school, grocery shopping, sleeping, sitting, driving, being a child, protecting your child, protecting yourself, spending time with your family, calming down from a mental breakdown, and simply existing can get you killed, what can Black Americans do if all our options have been depleted, when the mere sight of our complexion is seen as a "threat" in our own country! The answer is: All we can do is fight for our lives. The never-ending 400-year-old generational fight that we will continue to do until our ancestors' souls can finally be put to rest.


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