After receiving the email from one of the organizers, I stood up and stretched my legs at home, fully confident it was the right thing to do. Speak at National Moment of Silence 2014 (NMOS14). Someone knew what I had lived through 2001 and needed me there. It would only make me stronger.
We met by the Park’s Horse fountain. It was twilight. Organizers passed out scripts and people flocked to the middle of the pack: poets, dancers, students, dis, musicians, bouncers I knew. I knew a fair number of the mostly African American crowd of peaceful protesters.
I kept sitting down hard on my ankles until finally I tottered over. Tear gas I kept praying will not be used on us today. Freedom of speech. We are unarmed. We are innocent.
Nothing like that happened. We each read a few lines in solidarity for the children and men and women killed over the years, in the middle of a semi circle, and then when it came time for me to read about the child with the toy gun my voice shook and I profusely sweated and fainted once I was through. But policemen stood quietly on horseback towards the middle of the park, giving us peaceful speakers a bigger audience. News agents pushed their way past us, poster boards in the hands of local citizens, some crying some unearthly quiet.
When it was all said and through, I walked back to my totaled Honda. Looked over my shoulder and burst into tears once back in my car. It will give you strength, I had thought, and in a few hours I am reading online about New York City with over 90,000 peaceful protestors and not one incident.
But that violence it stored up in me. At first it was a policeman at my front door with some law about the car, parked in the driveway. Then he returned again ostensibly on a similar small matter.
Next March 2015. I decided to take a breather. When I walked in the door March 9th 2015 there was a cop car out front. This time he came inside. By the time he left I had two broken wrists and bruising up and down both arms. “She’s a mental patient!” he angrily called out to another cop at KU Med, where he decided to take me after beating me up.
But the scariest part is that was not my first brush with death by a couple of cops. 2001 was. In fact, 2014 I received my first “civil right” back: a call with the police report number and the date of the severe bodily injury and battery. A trial with no dead body and no accused men… or something like that.
Did this incident lead to the Ferguson riots? Why the need with an African American male President to still assert oneself? How is police brutality legal? Why does it still open up the fear in us civilians?
Do they live above the law? Doesn’t humanity outlaw that type of thing: brutality, brutal use of force, homicide, gang rape, murder? Am I not an unarmed educated female? I also do not live above the law.
Some things like the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco make me proud to be an American. 900,000 tickets sold and zero crimes committed.
But this cop violence of citizens is unnerving. It has me most unsettled. Policemen are paid to protect the peace? Aren’t we non felons doing just that? Protecting the peace? So why the phrase: “that public figure there is a mental patient.” “She’s bipolar.” His justification of violence and brutality of me is in labeling my 70 hour work and school week with “bipolar.” Published writer since 1991. Indie actress, director, composer, indie singer.
Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?