What if Mike Brown was your child? How would you feel? What if your child was unarmed, murdered & left for dead in the street, uncovered, for up to 4 hours? What if you weren’t even given the name of your child’s murderer or witnessed the character assassination of your child all over the news? How would that make you feel?
Today the body of Michael Brown Jr. was laid to rest near St. Louis, Missouri. For more than 2 weeks, protestors & people around the world have shown their disgust & disagreement with how Officer Darren Wilson handled the entire situation.
This affects me personally because as an African American, I understand the systemic forces this country exercises against people of color (particularly people of my color). Time & time again we have seen young unarmed African American men get shot down by White officers, resulting in little to no justice. It hurts to think that in 2014 you can lose your life just because of the color of your skin.
But Mike Brown was a criminal – didn’t he just steal from a local convenience store? Since when does petty theft, “strong-arming” someone or even jay-walking mean your life should be taken? It doesn’t. Mike Brown was not yielding a weapon, aggravating the police or was given the opportunity to defend himself before being murdered in the middle of the street. Whether or not these young men have children out of wedlock, dropped out of school or have even committed crimes – none of that merits being gunned down in cold blood.
This is not a Black/White issue; why is everybody making this about race? Because it is. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, from 2006 – 2012 a White police officer has killed an African American at least twice a week in this country. African Americans are almost twice as likely to be killed by police as cops are likely to be murdered in the line of duty. How is that not racially profiling? Simply put, police kill African Americans more frequently than you may realize.
I watch the news. I see how much crime they commit. African Americans are more likely to get caught, arrested, and jailed for longer periods of time than their White counterparts for the same crime. The Human Rights Watch has found that people of color are not any more likely to use or sell drugs than white people, yet they have a significantly higher rate of arrests. African American citizens encompass 14% of regular drug users but are 37% of those who are arrested for drug crimes. Same crime, but a harsher punishment. How is this our fault? Not to mention that the media paints a bad picture of African Americans in general. How is that when African Americans break into stores & take things out of protest it’s called “looting”, but when the news is talking about the Iraqi’s doing the same thing (as in ISIS), it’s called “marauding”? What’s the difference? The difference is that one term is used to portray African Americans negatively. And that’s where the misperceptions begin – people watch the television & think African Americans are savages because they are speaking out. But they’re really not – they are just fed up!
Let’s take a look at some of the lives of African American men we’ve lost over the past 15 years. What do all these young men have in common? They all died at the hands of White cops, unarmed:
- Amadou Diallo – Four New York City police officers were acquitted of all charges in the death of Amadou Diallo. He was shot 41 times as he stood, unarmed, in the vestibule of his apartment building in the Bronx. (2000)
- Patrick Dorismond was a security guard & father of two who was killed by an undercover New York Police Department officer. The undercover police officer approached Dorismond and his friend as they were standing outside of a lounge and asked him where he and his partners could purchase marijuana. Although Dorismond declared he was not a drug dealer he was shot to death. He was only 26. (2000)
- Timothy Stansbury – There was no warning & the police didn’t even identify themselves. Stansbury was shot in the chest and staggered, bleeding, down five flights of stairs to the building’s lobby where he collapsed. Even the police commissioner held an immediate press conference to acknowledge that “there appears to be no justification for the shooting.” (2004)
- Sean Bell – Undercover cops fired at least 50 rounds of bullets into a car carrying Sean Bell and two of his friends as they left his bachelor party. The police fired 31 times, emptying two full magazines. Bell was shot in the neck, shoulder and right arm and died at the hospital. He was only 23. (2006)
- Oscar Grant –Ever hear of the movie ‘Fruitvale Station’? Grant was fatally shot in the back by a transit officer at an Oakland train station on New Year’s Day 2009. The now-former transit officer admits he mistakenly used his service revolver when he meant to grab his taser. A criminal court jury convicted the transit officer of involuntary manslaughter in 2010 but completely acquitted him of murder. He was released in 2011 – that’s right, he only served 1 year for killing an unarmed young man. Grant was only 22.
- Kendrec McDade – A 19 years old & unarmed, he was killed in a shooting by Pasadena, CA police. A 911 caller falsely reported that two men with guns had stolen a backpack from his car. As police chased and fired several shots, some from close range. The Los Angeles County District Attorney cleared the officers of any criminal wrongdoing. (2012)
- Ramarley Graham - 18-year-old Ramarley Graham was leaving a Bronx bodega with his friends, when he was followed by members of the Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit of the NYPD. Footage from his home’s surveillance camera shows that Ramarley approached the door of his house, unlocked it and walked inside. Multiple officers swarmed the house, entering through the back without a warrant and letting others in through the front. He was followed upstairs and into his bathroom, where he was shot in the chest. No weapon was ever found. (2012)
- Jordan Davis was gunned down by citizen Michael Dunn recklessly as he shot into a car full of African American teens after complaining about the volume of their music in a convenience store parking lot. Three of his 10 shots struck Davis, killing him right away. Davis was only 17. (2012)
- Trayvon Martin - a 17 year old Floridian was fatally shot & killed while holding a bag of skittles & wearing a hoodie. He was gunned down by a neighborhood watch volunteer, who was acquitted of all charges. (2012)
- Jonathan Ferrel - Ferrell, was working two retail jobs and had recently moved to the Charlotte area. Mr. Ferrell was dropping off a work colleague and drove down an embankment. The car was so damaged he had to kick out the rear window to free himself. Unable to find his cellphone, he stumbled to the first house he found and knocked. Inside, a white woman home alone with her infant daughter panicked and called 911. A Black man, she said, was trying to break in. Three officers arrived & one fired a Taser, which missed its target. Then 12 shots were fired, 10 of which hit Mr. Ferrell. Autopsy results included in the lawsuit show the bullets entered his body and traveled downward, which supports that Mr. Ferrell was already on his knees or lying on the ground when he was shot. Officers then handcuffed him after he was already dead. He was only 24 years old (2013)
- Seventeen year-old Kendrick Johnson was found dead in a rolled-up gym mat in a South Georgia high school in January, 2013. The school has tried to cover up his death & the circumstances surrounding this tragedy are still unanswered.
- Eric Garner – a married father of six, was murdered after a New York City police officer put him in an illegal chokehold. He repeatedly stated that he couldn’t breathe & and the medics weren’t called for several minutes. Once they arrived, they took no action to save Garner’s life. Eric Garner was unarmed. (2014)
- Ezell Ford – a 25 year old mentally challenged man was shot and killed in Los Angeles while lying on the ground. He was unarmed. He was only blocks away from his home when officers stopped him. Police claim that it was an “investigative stop” but have not stated why Ford was being investigated. (2014)
- Unarmed Michael Brown Jr. was killed after being shot 6 times because he was walking in the street, “blocking traffic.” Brown was a recent high school graduate and was scheduled to start classes at a Missouri trade school, just two days after he was killed. He was only 18 years old.
No parent should EVER have to bury their child. This has got to stop! If you want to be a part of the movement, contact your state Senator and tell them you want a more diverse police force & better trained officers in your area. If you’re not registered to vote, click here to register so you can vote the best officials into office. This November make sure that you vote for the people who you feel would best represent your community – NOT just you.
No one deserves to be gunned down for the color of your skin. Speak out now; Michael Brown Jr. could’ve been your child.
Eloping at city hall may seem like a sign of love so true and everlasting that there’s no need to muddle it with elaborate wedding plans, but new research points to another finding: that having a formal wedding — the larger the better — may lead to a happier marriage down the road.
“We know from social psychology research that people like to be consistent, so making a public declaration of commitment may help people follow through on their commitments,” Galena K. Rhoades, co-author of the study, released by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, told Yahoo Health in an email. “This finding may also reflect that couples who have stronger communities and greater social support tend to do better,” she said.
The study, co-authored by Rhoades and Scott M. Stanley, both University of Denver research associate professors of psychology, was based on new data from the Relationship Development Study, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. They looked closely at 418 new marriages, analyzing the history of the relationships, prior romantic experiences, and the reported quality of the couples’ marriages.
“Most of the individuals who married over the course of our study, 89 percent in all, reported having had a formal wedding. Those who did reported higher marital quality than those who did not,” the researchers wrote.
In the study, having more guests at a wedding was associated with higher marital quality. To illustrate this association, researchers created groups of those who had weddings with 50 or fewer, 51 to 149, or 150 or more guests. Of those with 50 or fewer attendees, 31 percent had particularly high marital satisfaction; those percentages rose to 37 percent in the 51-to-149 attendees category, and 47 percent for those who had had 150 or more people at their wedding.
“Small or large, wedding ceremonies also reflect and enhance the community context of marriages. Weddings, after all, are public celebrations involving family, close friends, and often a wider network of people around a couple,” they added. “Emile Durkheim, the celebrated sociologist, is famous for arguing that community, and the rituals associated with collective life, give meaning, purpose, and stability to social life. The association between having a wedding and having a stronger, happier marriage could reflect two dynamics in this context. First, weddings may foster support for the new marriage from within a couple’s network of friends and family. Second, those who hold a formal wedding are likely to have stronger social networks in the first place.”
A formal wedding with many guests was not the only formula for success, though. Among the other findings:
• Those who had had more romantic experiences, such as having had more sexual or cohabiting partners, were less likely to forge a high-quality marriage than those with a less complex romantic history — which might seem counterintuitive. “It is surprising,” Rhoades said. “In most parts of our lives, more experience is better, but here we found the opposite. We think that more relationship experience may give people a greater sense of what the alternatives are, which may make them more likely to compare their marriages to past relationships or experiences. More experience in relationships also means more experience breaking up, and so it might set up a mindset that future relationships are also more fragile.”
• Spouses who had kicked off their relationship by “hooking up,” reported slightly less marital satisfaction than those who had waited a while before having sex — something that jibes with other past research, such as a 2012 study that found that women who waited a whopping 182 days before having sex with their partner reported better intimacy and social support in their relationships.
• Couples that “slid” into living together rather than talking it out and making a conscious, definitive decision about cohabiting had slightly lower marital quality later on.
But all is not lost, Stanley noted, if you’ve already set up your present marriage to be seemingly less successful than it could have been — at least according to these findings. “No one is doomed because of their past,” he told Yahoo Health. “Anyone can start going a bit slower, and start making decisions about important aspects of relationships — especially important relationship transitions — and improve their odds of making an existing relationship better, or finding the best partner for themselves in the future.”
(Photo by Giphy.com)
*Article was originally posted on Yahoo.