I want to draw your attention to a post by Kai about Rene Javier Perez. The post is over a week old and the first time I saw it, I only looked at the pictures too shaken by my own multiple New England flashbacks to read what I thought was going to be an idealistic story about quaint New England towns. Thanks to Kai’s post, mentioned again at Xicanopwr, I read the post again and saw the New England I remember, a place with manicured lawns, folk stories about Native Americans and freed slaves, and police forces who escort people of color to the outskirts of town regularly. This time, that decision turned deadly not only because of Perez having been abandoned by said police tactic but also because no one responded to his 911 call for help moments later.
I know this is not a story of police emptying round after round into unsuspecting people of color in New York or LA, or beating them senseless in Chicago or Virginia. We know these stories and no matter how common place they are, we still act like they are sensational. Instead, I give you Perez’ story out of atonement for missing him the first time around but also out of a desire to raise the bar of the discussion. The common place actions of the police, arresting women for defending themselves in DV cases, slow driving by kids of color getting out of school, and picking up homeless people, migrants, and people of color and moving them to the outskirts of town or unfamiliar places are just as lethal to our communities. Not only do these actions result in death for some, they are lethal to the spirit; when you are routinely disrespected by the state with no recourse, you lose hope and then whole communities lose their way.
Thanks Kai for reminding us that Perez’s name goes on the list. Let it be a list for action and not just shock and apathetic acknowledgment.
* one of the officers in the case, George Bubaris, was charged.