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In this life, the only thing you own, is you.
Today I meant to write about something uplifting, but that was before the onslaught of this week and the case of Cyntoia Brown.
For those unaware, see here for the complete article.
Twenty-nine-year-old Cyntoia Brown has been locked up in a Tennessee prison for 13 years, after she was convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery in the killing of a man who hired her as a prostitute when she was 16.
At trial, Brown’s lawyers argued she was a runaway who was raped, abused and forced into prostitution by a man known as “Kut Throat.” She will be eligible for parole after she turns 69.
I saw her documentary on her a few years ago and was astounded. The documentary was on YouTube. Before reading further, I suggest you view it.
I know you may be thinking this deviates from my topic of influence this month, but I assure you it doesn’t. Influence is only as potent or insidious as those who wield it. The more I looked at this story (before Kim Kardashian sent her lawyer after it), the more my heart grieved for her.
“Kut Throat” used his adult influence on a then 16 year old girl to force her into prostitution. In new millenium terms, we would call this sex trafficking.
He sold a 16-year-old girl for sex to the highest bidder. He put a child in an adult position by sheer force of will–ergo ill influence.
After she was violated by all these paying monsters, “Kut Throat” pimped her. A John took her to his home to have sex with her. When she thought she was reaching for a gun, she shot and killed him. She took his guns and whatever money he had and ran.
Now, should she have killed him?
Was he going to let her go?
We will never know.
The dirty fact is this: she did what she had to in order to live. With all she had endured, all Kut Throat did to her, on top of her life before the pimp found her–Is unbelievable. However, this nation likes its black girls docile or ratchet. Controllable and predictable or whorish and savage.
The favorite is the silent, suffering mammy.
The incredible thing? She now wants to use all that has happened to her to help everyone whom will listen. She wants to tell what happened to her so that the same trick that trapped her will not ensnare someone else.
Now, the third tier of this influence is the legal system–a system never designed to benefit or serve women, people of color or immigrants or the poor–God help you if you intersect any of these.
The legal system saw Cyntoia Brown like many of us see feral cats: Something for someone else to deal with and when dealing with them, do so harshly so there will be no others like those. The legal system decided her life was inconsequential and irredeemable in the face of all that had happened to her, so they decided to throw her away. The influence, the power and sway of the rule of law, let those in power do as the mob wished with her.
There has been new effort for her release and I am overjoyed. She deserves a chance at life and to impart and yes, to live. If all you own in this life is you, then whom are other folk to tell you whom you are or the limits of what you can become?
Ms. Cyntoia Brown #410593
Tennessee Prison for Women
Unit 1 West, D-49
3881 Stewarts Lane
Nashville, TN 37218
I hear sleigh bells ring-ting-tingling, too! Let’s get it!
#AnthonyLamarSmith #BlackLivesMatter #Coverup#CorruptPolice #ChangeTheSystem #Resist#FightBack
There are times where I can say with metered rage that I hate St. Louis. Courtesy of The Riverfront Times, this week, it was revealed there was a coverup during the investigation of the officer involved shooting involving police murderer of the moment, Jason Stockley. This is an exercpt from the article posted on December 5th:
The missing lab reports would have been crucial to the family’s position, Watkins argues. They show then-officer Stockley’s DNA was on a Taurus handgun recovered from Smith’s car. The now-former cop and his partner chased Smith at high speeds before they rammed his car and Stockley shot him five times.
The ex-cop claimed that Smith was reaching for the gun and that he shot him in self defense.
Yet an analysis done by a St. Louis police lab technician in February 2012 shows that not only was Stockley’s DNA found on a screw head on the gun, but that Smith’s DNA was not present.
I wish I could be shocked. I wish I could be surprised. I wish I could stop wishing. St. Louis recognizes three deities as Almighty: Money, The Cardinals and the police. When confronted with facts that the police are corrupt, tactics are terror based and you demand your humanity, you’re accused of being anti-police. Indeed, I’m anti-police as they are in the current permutation.They are still an arm of the kinder, gentler Klan. This is why we resist. We know what a lie looks like and refuse to remain silent. He killed Anthony Lamar Smith because he could. Why? There’s a good ol’ boy as a prosecutor whom can’t indict ‘a ham sandwich,’ unless a black person has one. I knew it. I just knew it.
Sponsor a future black lawyer. They are needed. The mentor to Thurgood Marshall was helped by Mark Twain. The $900,000 settlement doesn’t replace Anthony to his family and to quote Sunni Patterson, in her poem We Know This Place, “Not always have we had amnesia.”
#WalterScott #IsItJustice #Resist #DismantleThePolice #Resist
Michael Slager killed Walter Scott on cell phone video shot by a bystander. He shot him as he was running away. He then planted a weapon on him. All on video. December 7th he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. I have no joy about this. I want him to understand that black is not weapon, and forgiveness hasn’t reached my heart for this. I am angry. I am beyond frustrated. I wonder what is in white officers whom wield the badge, a car and service weapon to see color as a threat. I wonder if when these scary officers wash their faces and repeat “I feared for my life,” like I teach my children manners. I wonder if there are enough good officers that notice enough to care. I wonder how many graves are watered with the tears of young widows and broken mothers.
Hope is not something black mothers or any other woman of color is allowed to give up. We fight to remain alive, strong and to hope. My hope was this man be locked up because black life is greater than any settlement, any endorsement deal, any jersey or television appearance or concert ticket.We matter.Our humanity is not a stunt from God.We matte and we will keep hoping. And like Nehemiah whom rebuilt the walls and gates of his place of his birth, we fight as we rebuild.
#AuntieApril #AprilRyan #AprilDRyan #BlackWoman #BlackWomenWork #ChristmasParty #WhiteHouseChristmasParty
I follow Ms. April D. Ryan on Twitter. I love her. I have watched how this ongoing grease fire in Hell’s back acre perpetuating as an administration has treated her, my auntie April. And Sarah Huckabee Sanders thinks she can just over look her, not answer her questions, or answer them halfway…
Yet, April Ryan is not shook or scared or tripping off this! I spoke about the power of influence and strength of presence, April has been a role model for me as a woman right now. She’s shown me to keep showing up, and keep it pushing in the face of people who want you to stop, give up or tone it down for comfort.
April D. Ryan is goals as I pursue this writing. I admire her tenacity, her boldness and her dogged nature—I love that about her. I love that she ain’t phased by bullshit and still pushes to get her job done, make her presence known–seeing her puts steel in my back.
The fact she got snubbed for a Christmas by this madness masquerading as government only lets me know she’s doing her job. In doing that job, she ain’t got to go where they don’t pay her. Or don’t want her.
Washington has enough token negroes. Aunt April is not one of them–besides, words are how we get off the plantation.
I’m not about to apologize to make people comfortable. I’m not about to sweeten the narrative to make people in my city (read: St. Louis) think it’s more palatable to support a lie.
I’m not about to shut up because people are tired. No one is more tired than the women whose young sons occupy the graves of old men. No one is more tired than the women whom bear sons and watch and pray for them to return every day.
Speech, resistance and money are the only thing oppression understands and notices. The facts remain thus:
The current permutation of law enforcement is corrupt and either untrained or oblivious to deescalation. It is not acceptable for law enforcement to be murderous when it comes to the lives of African-American people. The protesting is not for the comfort or maintenance of the status quo. No one cares if other scary, bothered white people are upset. Our blood and pain is not for sport or profit. They can all die mad about it.
There will never be a good time to speak up. Justice comes at the cost of convenience and inconvenience of self. We, those who are alive and remain to record, fight, organize, heal and remain, won’t be good Negroes.
They kill them too.