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America's post traumatic stress symptoms are showing in the response to modern "strange fruit"

buzzz worthy. . . By Mona Austin

Originally written in 2014

On August 10, 2014, Michael Brown was returning from a convenience store, walking down a St. Louis street with his friend Dorian Johnson. Brown was in the are visiting his grandmother and knew the time he spent with Johnson would be the last time they hung out for a while. This week the 18-year-old planned to step into his future by entering a tech school.   But Brown never made the journey to pursue a higher education because that was the day he took his final steps.  was killed from a gunshot inflicted by a St. Louis police officer.

Citizens in the predominately Black city of Ferguson were on edge, unable to understand what had taken place.  How could an officer of the law kill an unarmed teen in cold blood in broad day light? This misuse of authority is akin to lynching.  When lynching was the norm in America, Blues singer Billie Holiday referred to the handing of people from trees as "strange fruit" in her well know song.
People are beginning to at out against  Brown's death.Bedlam erupted after conflicting reports about what led to the teen's death at what was expected to be a peaceful prayer vigil. Days later tensions are still boiling over, slowly, but surely as it does win peole who suffer from post traumatic stress.

The initial police report says Brown reached for the officer's gun during a struggle and that Brown hit the officer.  Johnson, an eye-witness has completely refuted the officer's account alleging they were confronted without cause and his friend's arms were raised above his head,  when the officer fired again and again, leaving Brown on the ground with eight holes in his body.   as johnson recollected to a news  a stor that rings of aggravated assault. In the above quote, Johnson prayed for a covering of protection over Black men during a concert at Bethune Cookman College in Florida earlier this year (Start at 1:41, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McOmuzTOozM). Eerily, her words seem to apply to the very event that transpired in St. Louis, but can apply to numerous news headlines involving the death or injury of individuals whose only "crime" appears to be existing while Black in America, whether they are male or female. (There have also been numerous reports of Black women being the victims of police brutality recently.)

The year 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of several critical milestones in Civil Rights including the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which made discrimination on the basis of race illegal. In the face of intensifying racial injustice in our criminal justice system and the rising death doll of blacks being killed by those who are supposed to enforce the law, such incidents could set the country back 50 years.

America has historically responded well to crisis. When a weather catastrophe strikes, we know how to give and be at our neighborly best. Taking a life for a life violently is not the answer. However, neither is silence. America must cry for St. Louis just as much as she cries for Sandy Hook. When a Black life is taken senselessly, there should be no difference in response when a non-Black person is killed senselessly. Our collective reaction to inhumane conduct regardless of the racial make-up of the killer or the killed should be outrage.

By: Mona Austin