THEY WERE LISTENING…

by Jesse Doyle / image of young protestors in Buffalo by Cams Banks

As I write this thought. I write with a heavy heart and bloodshot eyes. I was never afraid to speak truth to power. It’s not hard , understanding I have a son, two grandsons, and a host of nieces and nephews out here. 

I can reference the 60’s and the civil rights movement. Dogs, white sheets, and crosses burning. But I am not. I can reference 1991when  Rodney King got batted down with night sticks by police. A stain on my brain forever. But I am not.  

I would like to shed light on the past 20 years. Trayvon Martin murdered February 26, 2012 by George Zimmerman. Eric Garner died July 17, 2014 after Daniel Pantaleo, a New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer put him in a chokehold while arresting him as  he pleaded “I can’t breathe.” Eighteen year old Michael Brown Jr. was fatally shot on August 9, 2014 by 28-year-old White Ferguson police officer. On November 2014 Tamir Rice, a 12-year old boy, was killed in Cleveland by police. On April 12, 2015 Freddie Carlos Gray, while  being transported in a police van,   mysteriously fell into a coma. On February 23, 2020, Ahmaud Marquez Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old African American man, was fatally shot while jogging. On May 25, 2020 George Floyd – the straw the broke the camel’s back –  was murdered by an officer while on his stomach in handcuffs with the officer’s knee pressing against his neck as he pleads for his life.

Now I would like to bring this conversation local. Close to home. Make it personal. 

Remember when you dragged me out of my car in front of my “young kids” for having a license, but just not on me? They were listening. Remember you beat me while handcuffed and left me in a pool of blood, in front of my “young kids?”  They were listening. Remember when you sent my dad away to prison for 10 years over an ounce weed? I had to fend for myself. They were listening. Remember when you slipped my woman your number and told her to call your cell in front of my young kids? They were listening. Remember when you stopped and frisked me. You went in my pocket, took out $80  but returned only $20? They were listening.  Remember when you rode down the street and wouldn’t even say hello to the community you swore to serve and protect? They were listening. Remember when I was leaving the basketball court with my friend? You pulled over and put cuffs on me, took me in a backyard. Ran your hands through my under clothes. Under my genitals looking for drugs. They were listening. Remember when you flooded my then “neighborhood’ with cocaine and called it the “hood.” The young kids were listening. The emasculation of Black men in their households. My God! The young kids were listening.

The most recent event. Remember the other day you pushed a 75-year-old man down. In my opinion at 75-years-old you should never have a curfew. Initially you reported that he fell. But once again the camera told the truth. They were listening.

So NOW these young kids who bear witness at 5,6,7,8 and even teenagers are GROWN NOW. So, you see them all over your TV screen. This has been boiling in them for years. They can stand by themselves now.  They are not afraid and clearly, they do have a voice. My advice is instead of meeting these young people with aggression, arresting them, and pepper spraying them; Instead of talking at them, I advise to speak “with” them. In fact, LISTEN. It is a whole heap of them. They have social media on their side. They clearly have a voice, young, hungry, and not afraid. Adults talked themselves into a national crisis. Isn’t it time to shut up and listen?

Contributing Writer Jesse Doyle

I speak for the voiceless, the uneducated, the brothers from the block, and the overlooked. The powerful thing about this young movement is new leaders will evolve from the ashes. Michael King stepped into his glory and became Dr. Martin Luther King in his mid 20’s. Malcolm Little known as Detroit Red became Malcolm X in his mid-20’s.  I am extremely interested to see which of these young people God elevates next!

Jesse Doyle  jessedoyle8@gmail.com