We received this letter from a supporter of World Can’t Wait who lives in a well-to-do North Shore suburb near Zion, IL, where a young Black man, Justus Howell, was murdered by police earlier this year. On May 14, the local state’s attorney announced that, once again, no charges would be filed against his murderers. The writer joined the protest following the announcement and shared these thoughts with us (published with permission).
On Friday May 15 ,2015, in Waukegan, Illinois, I joined a group of people gathered for a rally/march protest for Justus Howell. Another young black man killed by a police officer. In Zion, Illinois on April 4, 2015. Recently, the Lake County States Attorney Mike Nerheim announced this as “justified”. Once again, controversy prevails. “Justice for Justus Howell” is the cry in the streets of the protest. “Due Process” is no longer a guarantee. Did that guarantee ever exist?
Since the events in Ferguson I have attended social action events focused on this question of Due Process voiced through “Black lives matter”, “I Can’t Breathe”, “No Justice, No Peace”. Since January 15, 2015 there have been over 27 murders by police. I attended a rally/march in Glencoe, Illinois in December, 2014, a rally/Strike call in Chicago on April 14, 2015 and a rally at the Homan Avenue “Black Site” in Chicago March 5, 2015.
But this event, for Justus Howell, is in my home area. A different level of emotional immediacy emerges. There is no distancing of this happening “somewhere else”, this isn’t about a social-civil-politically compromised area “somewhere else”. Failure is right here. Failure of society is here and now.
This insight collapses my emotional distancing. There is no “somewhere else” opposed to “here”. There is no Selma Past, Ferguson Now… It is All Now. There is no Palestine over there, Ukraine over there, Drones over there. it is all Here and Now. I need to “Be” in All This Here and Now.
May 19, 2015