Editor of The Lincolnian Pens Letter to Michael Brown

The following letter is an excerpt from The Lincolnian’s editor, Nicole Webb’s, journalism blog entitled Testaments of a Journalism Major. Webb is a graduating senior at The Lincoln University, double majoring in Broadcast and Print Journalism. You can view this letter and her other posts by visiting testamentsofajournalismmajor.blogspot.com.

Dear Michael,

You don’t know me and I quite frankly cannot say that I know of who you are outside of these recent headlines. From what I’ve read you were a “gentle giant;” you had just graduated from high school and just like so many of our young Black men, you had the world ahead of you…until the stray of a bullet fatally took that future away. 

Michael, I cannot say that I understand what it feels like to be a Black man in America. I cannot say that I understand what it feels like to constantly feel like I am the intended target in a national massacre that our country has plotted with you as the intended target. Michael, I cannot say that I understand what it feels like to walk down the streets of my neighborhood and feel as though I do not have the right to not be frisked without a probable cause or, worst, murdered because of the color of my skin and my gender.

Michael, what I can say is that my heart aches. My heart aches for every time another brother becomes a chalk outline; for every time another brother is made famous on Instagram and Twitter in a hashtag #RIP [Insert Black Man’s Name]. My heart breaks every time I think of what I will need to say to my unborn son…how do you explain to your child that from the moment he arrives into this world, there is a red dot in the middle of his forehead waiting to be shot at because he is a Black man.

This morning I cried…I got to a point where I had realized even my own numbness to this justice system. As sad as it may sound, I did not feel a thing once I heard the verdict that your killer would not be indicted for your murder. I was in the car on my way back home when my sister read the verdict on Instagram. What’s even worst is that I went back to singing with the radio because I felt nothing at all. When you realize that the system you thought was meant to protect you was actually never built to do such in the first place, you lose a sense of feeling. You lose whatever hope you thought might have existed in the people that are “supposed” to protect you; you lose hope in the “freedom” AmeriKKKA promises in it’s national anthem and other “patriotic spirituals.”

 Last night proved once more that this AmeriKKKa finds no value in the lives of our Black men. What’s even crazier is just before the verdict was announced, I posted a warning on Instagram foretelling our people to not be surprised when the verdict was announced that your murderer would go free…and for that, Michael, I am sorry. 
I am sorry that you had to be another sacrifice to prove to our community that America doesn’t really care about us.

I am sorry.

I am sorry that I could not protect you.

I am sorry.

I am sorry that you too probably had hope for this justice system to not count you out like another statistic.

I am sorry.

I am sorry that they let your killer off but charged that young Black man with 23 years for killing a dog; they clearly have shown that a Black man’s life is worth less than a domesticated animal’s.

I am sorry.

I am sorry that the media will continue to depict you as a hoodlum to justify your murder in order to nullify your innocence.

I am sorry.

I am sorry that just like the rest, you will become another t-shirt stamped face that we will only wear as a statement and soon forget once the hype is over.

I am sorry.

I am sorry that this letter is written almost 4 months too late because maybe had I written it sooner, you would still be alive today.

 I am sorry.
I am sorry for the looters that took advantage of the riots and store break-ins to steal those J’s that are supposed to be released on Friday…some people will always be ignorant.

I am sorry.

I am sorry that no one will ever know your side of the story because that died when you left your mother and father with just their memories.

I am sorry.

I am sorry that on the night AmeriKKKa let your killer go free of charge, another little brown boy, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot by police in Cleavland…his killer argues he thought he was a grown man. Just like in your case, a jury will be left to decide whether the officer will be indicted.

Michael, I am sorry.

It kills me to quote this but actor Jessie Williams once said,

           “Even with videotaped evidence of police destroying Black people, many freedom-loving Americans remain unconvinced of a systematic problem. Maybe some day the perfect tape will be released, in which the dead or maimed African American has just the right wardrobe, complexion, size and diction to warrant empathy.”

Unfortunately, Michael…he happens to be right. 

But here is what I want you to understand: YOUR LIFE MATTERS.

Just like every other little brown boy, your life, your name, and your right to live matters, Michael.

 And I know it may seem too late, but know there there are people who are fighting…there are people that are protesting our system in your name. They are not just yelling “No Justice, No Peace,” without causing havoc in our justice system. You have the National Bar Association fighting for you and the rest of our young men. You have HBCU’s and their coalitions marching through the streets of Washington D.C. and other major cities to government buildings demanding that they grant us justice in your name.
Michael, I promise to you, this fight is not over.
I will not let you die in vain.
For as long as I have breath in me, Michael, I will always be fighting on your behalf and for our little brown boys, girls, men and women to have the right to live.
Dear Michael,

 

I know this letter may fall upon deaf ears…but I pray this reaches you and the rest of our young Black men somehow, some way.

 

Your Life Matters.

Signed,

A Sister Fighting for Her Brothers’ Right to Live

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