I was in the park, enjoying the roses when a good-looking man said to me, “I’m an orthopedist. I’ve taken care of your type of people. I know what wrong with you.”
No, he didn’t.
I’m often short tempered, a procrastinator and not detail oriented. I’ve bombed out writing poetry and can’t seem to learn how to structure a novel. These are real flaws. Athetoid cerebral palsy, though, is just a physical difference. In a world free from prejudice, the issues it creates would only be logistical – how to get from here to there, how to pour without spilling, how to make yourself understood by strangers when you’re nervous.
The casual comment made me feel the invisibility that disability rights advocate Anastasia Somozo would later refer to at the Democratic National Convention.
This week, jaw-dropping footage of three Connecticut state police officers appearing to fabricate criminal charges against a protester made international news. Meanwhile, two families lost loved ones to police violence in Oklahoma and North Carolina. Each of these incidents was caught on video. All have inspired outrage from people around the world. It still might not be enough to ensure justice—and that should frighten all of us.
Nearly all of the ways that the judicial system serves justice are unfair, and it is the poor, underprivileged citizens who are suffering.
According to NAACP.org, “African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million people incarcerated population. African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites.” Seeing those statistics, I can’t help assume that the justice system seems to have a bias that black people are all the same: that they’re all agitators of civilization. This bias isn’t the truth and is displayed by many African Americans including 17-year-old Aymir Holland.
After weeks of embarrassing publicity and political mobilization, Yale University has been forced to rehire Corey Menafee, an African American employee who was fired for smashing a stained glass window at Yale’s Calhoun College that depicted slaves shouldering bales of cotton. For over a year, Calhoun College has been the subject of intense national controversy because it is named after one of America’s foremost defenders of slavery and white supremacy. Menafee’s actions, firing, and now rehiring gave expression, and amplification, to the controversy. But now there’s a new source of controversy…
Our new brothers Dr. Jeffrey Cohen and Ted Hakey Jr., a former marine, are thrilled to join this year’s Jalsa Salana USA alongside myself, Dr. Mohammed Qureshi, our families, and the entire Ahmadiyya Muslim Community CT from Baitul Aman “House of Peace” Mosque in Meriden. In a world exuding hatred, strife, and bloodshed, we sorely look forward to being a part of another moving demonstration “love for all, hatred for none,” and hope to bring that promising remedy to the rest of Connecticut.
Quiet down, class. It’s time to review some definitions. This time, let’s focus on current events: “Black Lives Matter.” Here’s a phrase that has been incorrectly defined with increasing frequency. To insist on the value of African American lives is not to say that “all lives” don’t matter.