by Roberto Cintli Rodriguez
Cephus Johnson, the uncle of Oscar Grant, who was killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer in Oakland in 2009, speaking at an event in 2012. When a family loses someone to police violence, many times, "they are shocked into silence. Sometimes they are just shocked," says Johnson. (Photo: Wendy Kenin / Flickr)
Once again I find myself among grieving families, among families who bleed and tremble when they speak, all the while insisting they are witnesses or survivors, not victims. All the families present at this United Voices Against State Sponsored Violence event have tragically lost family members to the scourge of law enforcement violence. And while the air is heavy with trauma here, there is also much strength at this standing-room-only event at the African American Community Service Center in San Jose, California.
Family members are here to bear witness, affirming that they will not remain silent. "Silence is consent," says Cephus Johnson, the MC of the event and uncle of Oscar Grant, who was killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer in Oakland in 2009. When a family loses someone to this kind of violence, many times, "they are shocked into silence. Sometimes they are just shocked," says Johnson.
Other families represented here are those of Antonio Lopez Guzman, Richard "Harpo" Jacquez, Alex Nieto, Yanira Serrano, Diana Showman, Phillip Watkins,Rudy Cardenas and Steve Salinas, just to name a few. All of them were killed unjustifiably, and several of these cases are still mired in the criminal legal system.
For rest of column, go to: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/35423-reliving-the-trauma-of-police-violence-in-pursuit-of-sacred-justice