I asked black men why the death of Jordan Edwards was seemingly ignored.
Affirmative action – a white peer casually stated that it was probably the only way I was accepted into a summer research program. Three years ago, I would’ve delivered an eloquently stated spiel on the inadequacies of his argument, but on this day, in particular, I was too tired.
At the beginning of my freshman year of college, I went to a meeting for a social justice league. When asked what my intention was in joining the club, I stated that I wanted to find solutions to the issues of injustice that I saw on campus. The response from the president was that it’s impossible to “find solutions” to systemic inequalities. Now, what if Dr. King would have had that mindset?
Believing that the impossible is possible is at the core of fighting for equality. We must be visionaries able to see a society without injustice, and we have to be willing to be bold. Breaking the status quo takes time, but justice is attainable. Jordan Edwards deserves one.
One of my greatest fears is raising a son in these current societal conditions. I do not want him to be a hashtag or a martyr for a crusade that he never even asked for. Blackness should not be a death sentence, but way too often, melanin attracts violence.
I was a freshman in high school when Trayvon Martin was killed.
I remember the outcry, even within myself. I was furious and ready to dedicate my life to fighting for justice. Through the next few years, I became weary. I felt insane; I kept expecting different results from the same situations.
#AltonSterling. No charges.
#SandraBland. No charges.
#TrayvonMartin. Not guilty.
#FreddieGray. Not guilty.
#CameronTillman. No charges.
The response was nearly nonexistent. Jordan Edwards. A 15-year-old unarmed boy was shot and killed on April 29, 2017, by officer Roy Oliver while riding away from a party.
I did not even hear of the incident until two days later when a friend on social media posed the question, “Why are we not talking about Jordan Edwards?”
Usually, I heard about instances of police brutality within minutes on social media. This time, silence.
It seems as if the lives of black men are continuously being devalued, but the resistance is getting weaker. It’s been three years since the founding of #BlackLivesMatter, and I’d argue that the hashtag-turned-trend is losing popularity.
I once claimed that I wanted to be a voice for silenced black men, but I realized that there is no point in me being a “voice for the voiceless” when I can simply pass the microphone.
So I inquired; I asked black men why the death of a brother was seemingly ignored.
Here are some of the responses:
“It’s because of two reasons. Honestly, the media has the ability to sway the thinking of the public…I don’t think the Jordan Edwards case had as big of a media blast as far as Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, and Alton Sterling had, which results in people like me having little to knowledge of the incident. Issues like Syria, Russia, and now, James Comey soak up media attention. Then, sadly, it has become common.” -Jeremy
“Because it’s becoming something that is normal and the results usually turn out the same.” -Jordan
“Most outlets only cover the most popular news [which] at the moment seems to be anything about Trump. I also believe you only have so many people actually willing to do the day by day work of fighting against police brutality…” -Christian
“I don’t think it’s necessarily [Trump’s] election but the issues with his presidency. Also, liberals are getting too worked up about the petty Trump details and not enough about things like Jordan Edwards.” -Brian
Although former officer Oliver was fired and was indeed charged with murder, something has still happened to make ex-activists become silent. It takes persistence to bring about the consistent change that we desire.