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Stand Up!

Letter to Congress:

There is an obvious disparity in Afro-American men being incarcerated in comparison to any other demographics. The numbers are there, one of every four Black men in America has a criminal record. There are countless books, articles, and news reports that confirm this, and the fact that there is still inaction only solidifies the fact that Congress still does not care about Black lives. This is aside from the needed police reform and prompt killing of people of color; this includes the judges (and district attorneys) and the pen and swift judgment based on fallacies and perceptions. The implicit bias is ingrained in the system. In my personal experience in Colorado, I have been convicted of an alcohol-related crime that some call a disease? Just stop it, you are jailing people for what you claim is a disease is archaic thinking and you must shift your paradigm regarding this. I am a college graduate and work in a white-collar field as an IT manager for an energy company. If I had not experienced this for myself, I would not have believed the way I and other Black men are treated in the courtroom. I have had the opportunity to work in Eastern Europe and even Johannesburg, South Africa. That is when I first realized that I am black no matter where I am in this world, and being black means being treated differently.

During my experience in my Colorado trial, there were zero representatives on the other side of the court that were of color. The police officer lied under oath, which is perjury, but the video evidence was redacted, and the officer tactfully did not have a body camera and the dashcam was conveniently out of view so as not to capture the premature detainment and failure to give Miranda warnings. All of this would have quickly exonerated me was suppressed when I as the defendant could not use these actual video accounts to prove my innocence. Not a proud day to be an American citizen and ultimately denied my fourteenth amendment rights. This is how my ancestors of just 50 years ago must have felt in the courtroom, their fate much the same. Possible loss of job or career, unable to provide for family or maintain mortgage or any property, and of course the stain on the record that inhibit new job opportunities. There was no opportunity for liberty with evidence carefully coordinated to show me in a bad light. The district attorney essentially in cohorts with the judge as they are colleagues. This is just one of the dozens of examples of disproportionate representation, hence disproportionate incarceration.

Just stop and be honest. You all know that you would not want to have the same experience as Black people do in this country. That fact alone shows you know that it is not fair, but you do nothing and sit back in your fancy suits and robes while the courtroom lynching continues. The few Black people in Congress that may have the opportunity to read this know that their voice is not as strong and does not carry as much weight as their White counterparts. They are basically “pawns” in this twenty-first-century caste system, and it is embarrassing going to other countries explaining the blatant racism and the new “colorblindness” attitude that many Americans, Black, White, and others have. And get over yourselves with this Democrats versus Republicans and petty arguments to not work together. It is childish and no different than the rivalry between the Crips and the Bloods, you both wear the same colors. They fight with guns you fight with a pen and generations of lives are affected in the same way.

Just stop and do the right thing. Stop playing devil’s advocate as it does not help. There is no harm in supporting and helping Black people. All cases of Black men should have no less than half of the jurors be of Afro-American descent. All cases of Black individuals need to be provided better than adequate legal counsel. It was just in my mother’s lifetime that Jim Crow laws were legal! Think about that… How do you think you can just ignore the past when it is what got us here today? While am not a Black Lives Matter activist I do appreciate the movement and noise it is creating. I am asking my government to be the bigger person and be on the right side of history.

Art by Monica Trinidad

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