Monday, July 09, 2007

Genarlow Wilson: We Protested to Continue the Fight

I looked out over the crowd. In the mini sea of protesters I saw faces of despair. Faces of frustration and faces of disappointment. I saw women who could have been my mother. Mothers who could have been seeking some level of justice for their sons, bothers, or husbands. I saw men who looked broken. Defeated and tired. We all were waiting to be militantly stimulated by a word of encouragement, faith, and persistence.

It was an emotional sight. So much so I could not contain my emotions. The more I swallowed the more I filled my Che Guevara handkerchief with tears. I was crying, but what for? Why was I crying at such an uncontrollable pace? The tears would not stop flowing. Even my cherished Che t-shirt was soaked with my wet symbol of emotion. My feelings were filled with anger and resentment. I was in that familiar place of not believing that we (black folk) still have to march and sing those sad songs of hope. It was not We Shall Overcome that I was hearing in the background. It was one of those songs that if heard you would know with certainty that slaves articulated it with harmony while picking cotton and while sitting in their open-air churches. Churches that capsulated aspirations, hopes, faith, and not premeditated entertainment and religious pimpology.

What I experienced on July 5th in Douglas County is what our ancestors routinely experienced: a daily struggle filled with dreams of freedom, justice, and equality. I was in this southern county, which is only 10 minutes from one of the blackest cities in America, to lend my support for a cause. Approximately three hundred of us like-minded descendents of slaves were in attendance. We were called there to support Genarlow Wilson. Something unseen forced us to travel in an extremely organized caravan from Martin L. King, Sr.’s former church, Ebenezer Baptist, to the steps of the courthouse in Douglasville, Georgia. About an hour away from that 1960’s fiery state of Alabama. The home of Selma and Montgomery. Those places where men, women, boys, and girls were killed just because they were black. It was their blackness that motivated the Klansmen to treat them with such hatred. No other reason. For this reason also, Mr. Genarlow Wilson is incarcerated. Some may say he is in prison because he and the others broke the law. I agree. However, I will refute anyone’s statement that does not mention he is locked-up because of his race. Genarlow is in jail with murders, rapists, and burglars because he is that symbol of fear: Black.

A couple of weeks ago I was engaged in a contentious debate with a black friend who led me to believe that he understood race not to be a factor in America’s make-up of today. I could not believe that this young man who may be a product of affirmative action believes race is not the United States’ number one domestic problem. At first I thought that I misunderstood him, and he contends to this day that I did. At the time, I did glean this miscalculation of race relations from his statements and personal insults. I could not have been wrong. He was too adamant and convincing. In the end, we were somewhat on the same page. I exited the email debate respecting his opinion, but his position on the matter still haunts me. I just can’t believe a black man who is more than likely viewed by his white peers as ‘My Black Friend’ - and not ‘My Friend’, believes race is irrelevant and Jim Crow in theory and action is dead. What will it take for me to believe his final statement?: “Race is relevant.”

At the rally for Genarlow I kept hearing, “Race is relevant” in some form. It was like I wanted it to be an additional reason for me to be there waiting for Rev. Al Sharpton to grace us with his words of defiance. When Al finally had the crowd hypnotized while chanting: No Justice, No Peace a lone voice extinguished our mesmerizing state. This voice momentarily quelled our spirit of togetherness. Someone was disturbing our cause and our unity. The rattling voice came from a stringy-haired, out of shape, homely West Virginia-looking white girl. She was yelling, “This case is not about race.” What audacity! The black woman I was standing beside on this hot and humid day was floored. She was ready to grab this white girl’s jugular!

“You mean to tell me this white chick has the gall to stand among us and defy our position on this important matter?” I could not believe this chick’s impudence either. I also thought that it takes an insanely brave person to enter a sanctuary of black purpose, and disrupt the message we wanted to send to the newly named Uncle Tom: Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker. But I was not surprised. (White folk move into the black neighborhoods we avoid. They ain’t scared.)

This woman was not crazy. She was just utilizing her First Amendment Right. Her boldness only empowered us protesters to yell louder and louder: NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE. In this act of solidarity we were successful at getting rid of that gnat. Her annoyance soon transcended into a victory, and all of us were recharged with vibrant determination to express more passionately our Freedom of Speech right while chanting: Free Genarlow Wilson.

Freedom is costly in America. Somebody has to pay for it. Some pay for it with money. Some pay for it with doing time. Others have to sacrifice. Sacrificing was easy for black men and women of the 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. They did it for you and me. But, we fail daily to honor their sacrifice. We will not do what is necessary to maintain the little piece of freedom we think we now have. I have asked time and time again: What will it take for us (ALL of US) to understand that the struggle is not over? What will it take for us to understand that race STILL does matter? What will it take for you to join me and hopefully hundreds of other marchers/protesters on July 14, 2007 to support a black man wronged by the white man’s tool (judicial system) to keep us in bondage?

Join me: http://www.westmetronaacp.org/. Even if you are not the ‘fight the system type’ please come out for the exercise. Exercise with us folk who will have a dual workout: Marching and being heard.

Written by Muata. Inspired by Genarlow Wilson mother’s pain. It is written all over her face.

8 comments:

FREEDOM said...

A response from Freedom:

I heard about this case. I am glad that you Touched on it, Marched about it, and was Emotionally moved from it. This piece was indeed worth the read.

My auntie, brother, and I were just discussing this case last Sunday after church. We were disgusted by this black prosecutor’s need to make a further example out of this young black man. I guess he is saying, ‘Leave white women alone, black man’.

Genarlow Wilson has been incarcerated since February 25, 2005. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison (a mandatory 10 years in prison and 1 year on probation). He will also be left with the label of “child molester”, which will require him to register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life. And on top of that, this sentence was imposed from him having consensual sex with another teenager. What the heck? Not to be funny, but this sounds like the movie “LIFE” with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence with this ridiculous prison sentence. Okay, back to being serious. The missing link in this case is that the 15-year-old girl whom had consensual oral sex with this young black boy is WHITE!

These two teenagers (Genarlow Wilson 17-year-old BLACK boy) and (15-year-old WHITE girl), HAD CONSENSUAL SEX and he is now serving 10 years in prison for it. Now you can’t tell me Race does NOT matter in America!

This 15-year-old white girl allowed herself to be videoed taped giving oral sex to this young black boy, and this young black boy is paying the price for “Race still matters in these United States that we call America”. The home of the FREE, yeah right! It really is sad.

That is why it is so important for us to learn the laws in the states in which we are living and the federal laws as well. I am preaching to myself now as well; ignorance is NOT an excuse for ANYONE. We (Black Americans), especially need to learn the laws in which govern us and our children, and Advocate Laws that WILL Strengthen us with Growth. Boy, knowing your rights and the laws are essential in today’s dynamic environment.

I am a woman and was once a teenager, but why is that the “female” always seem to be let off the hook when it comes to “SEX”? Those females whom are willing participants in consensual sexual acts should go to jail too, if they break the law, not just the male. Sorry to say this ladies, but SOME men do receive a raw deal SOMETIMES when it comes to consensual sexual relations with female a partners. The judicial system is really unfair to SOME males when it comes to SOME sexual crimes allegedly committed by males against females, mostly geared at black males.

“On July 1st, the new Romeo and Juliet law went into effect in Georgia for any other teen that engages in consensual sexual acts. That change in the law means that no teen prosecuted for consensual oral sex could receive more than a 12 months sentence or be required to register as a sex offender.” Can you believe this is a law? Well believe it, because it is.

While, we (black folk) are snoozing and thinking we have overcome our children are becoming set-up as easy preys to be negatively regulated by the local, state, and federal government!

My question is What happened to Genarlow Wilson’s other four buddies, the 15-year-old girl, and the other 17-year-old girl?

Did they receive jail time also?

And, Why was only Genarlow Wilson singled out with this horrid sentence?

Great piece.

Can’t physically make it to the march, but I will be there in spirit. -FREEDOM

Muata said...

Reader Responses:

That was deep & very enlightning....thanks for sharing :)

-Bree

It is unbelievable that this young man is still in jail.

I have no further comment as I need this job.

-SH

Muata said...

Reader Response:

Very well stated. I wish I could join the fight on the 14th but I will be away (yet again) on a business trip to D.C. Keep up the good fight and I will do what I can in other ways. I thought of you Sunday (and almost called) as I’m feeling more and more like just a worker bee in the Hive of America’s classist system and I don’t like the feeling. I feel that a measure of a man is not by the possession he has but the legacy he leaves behind. Having said this, I have been thinking more and more about the conversation we had about forming a Non profit organization to help our people. I really want to do something to give back but more importantly, help our people as if we don’t help ourselves, no one will.

-DM

Muata said...

Reader Response and Muata Responds:

Continue the cause, Muata. I am proud of you. The younger Blacks do not believe that race is an issue in America. Like you said, What will it take?

-WJ

WJ-

Thanks. These young folk will see when they discover that they did not get the dream job because of their skin tone. They will learn the hard way.

-Muata

Muata said...

Reader Responses:

I enjoyed reading this. I'll be there (at the march).

-SW

Race will be an issue for the rest of my lifetime. Nothing will change America's history. And, nothing can change the deep-seated racism that infects their hearts until they find a way to remove the seeds of hatred/dislike/jealousy/fear/envy. .

-PJ

Muata said...

Reader Response:

You are an extremely talented writer. In your recent commentary, I felt like I was there with you. You have an amazing talent for capturing your readers and giving us a glimpse of whatever emotion you are experiencing at that moment or giving your opinion on a topic you are wanting your readers to embrace. I've heard a little about the story from a friend of mine. Very unfair and upsetting situation, however very typical of our "justice" system. Thanks for sharing valuable information and your emotions with us.

-G

Muata said...

Reader Responds and Muata Responds:

Thanks for the read. Your eloquence was noted. Will there be an organized caravan tomorrow?

-SD

SD-

No caravan this time. The march starts at Douglasville County High School and ends at the courthouse.

Distance: 1.17 miles

One needs to arrive at school by 9:30am to assemble. March begins at 10am and protest/rally scheduled to conclude at courthouse by 12 Noon.

-Muata

Muata said...

Reader Response:

I may not know for certain if race is relevant, but Generalow Wilson is certainly a victim of blatant injustice! NO JUSTICE,NO PEACE!

-Bob