You know how some days, US news makes you want to weep and some days it makes you want to break your phone and some days it makes you want to change the entire system? (Why can't we be New Zealand, where spoiled goat curry was making the headlines for weeks?)
Today I felt all three ways. Why? History time! On June 16, 1944, George Stinney Jr., a 14 year old, was executed in South Carolina. Ava DuVernay wrote "George Stinney Jr. He was fourteen. Three months after being arrested, he was executed on this day in 1944. They used a bible as a booster seat when they sat him in the electric chair. Seventy years later, he was exonerated for the murder of 2 white girls."
They used a BIBLE as a booster seat to execute this 14 year old. A A BABY. My baby is 13.5. Imagining her, or ANYONE'S baby, in an electric chair makes me feel like I'm dissolving.
You can read more at Equal Justice Initiative's site. They have a $2 calendar of these stories. Derek pointed out how NUTS it is that there's a daily calendar-- you could learn about a story like this every single day of the year and you wouldn't have begun to scratch the surface of the horror. There are nooses at Lake Merritt RIGHT NOW; we can learn our history and stop this horrific cycle so the next generation doesn't have to be traumatized this way.
I want to live in a country with ZERO executions. And where EVERYONE can vote.
And when we say "Defund the police," it's because there are countless stories of injustice like this. AND BECAUSE WE CAN DO BETTER. I believe that 100%.
I believe that because we've seen how we can do better. I believe that because there are movement leaders right now proposing better. I believe that because I've seen the power of putting resources into what we know works, like community health centers, education, counselors in schools. Those resources could be easily available and we could all be safer, healthier, happier if we move resources from a bloated line item to these underfunded ones.
I believe we can build a world where children will not be executed. I believe we are already doing the work to welcome that beautiful world into being. I believe we need to keep going, keep pushing, and birth this new era into being.
Happy Juneteenth. Black Lives Matter.