This is a report by Dennis Solo McKeithan, DB2253 at SCI Phoenix. Today, while watching the news and seeing George in Minneapolis murdered by the police sitting on his neck, it was reminiscent of so many things that happened in here on a daily basis, including what happened to myself at SCI Albion when I was being choked out. It took myself pleading. And I heard a voice saying, get off his neck, let him go, get off his neck. And that voice saved my life. And when I was listening to him say, “I can’t breathe” and then call out for his mother, I sat there and I thought of all the murders of innocent unarmed black men and women over the past few months.
And I look at society talking about: they need more cameras, they need more training. What people don’t understand is you cannot legislate racism. That’s something that’s in peoples’ hearts. I see it in here on a daily basis and it’s the same idea: jobs like police officers, prison guards, they are magnets for white racists, because they can practice hate crimes with impunity and actually be paid for by the government.
When I looked at the police standing around while this man sat on George’s neck, and I looked at their face, and I remember when I was studying about body language in my sociology class, their body language was telling him, “kill him, kill him,” and I thought about the people that were standing around hollering. And I said, maybe if one person would have stepped forward and made a motion, even if they would’ve gotten hit upside the head, it might’ve made him release off of that neck. And I say that because I, myself, was that person when I was up at SCI Albion and I saw them jumping on a young guy for no reason. And I said, “Get off him, that man ain’t do nothing.” They told me to keep it moving. And I said, “I’m not going nowhere.” And they came at me, and the attack on me saved the attack on him.
And what people have to understand is, you can’t pray away or march away hate. And that’s what we see in this American society today. And now that the top office in this society perpetuates that hate, people feel more embodied. You know, because this is their leader: a man that basically just told the National Guard to start shooting. When people look at the rioters and condemn them for their actions, think of the procuring cause, think of what led to their accidents. It’s the hate that created hate, and as I watch this every day, I sometimes look at myself and become angry that I’m not out there to be a part of fighting for the changes in our society, because if the people don’t stand up, it’s only going to get worse, because they feel embodied. They feel that this thing here is acceptable; they can do it. No, they won’t get charged; when they do get charged, they’ll get found “not guilty.”
And when I say that, I look at even when Trayvon Martin was killed; that wasn’t even a police officer. And what—and it made me think of what they told Dred Scott: a black man has no rights that a white man is bound to respect. And there’s a segment of this society that wholly believes that. That’s what I was thinking about today as I watched that. You know, how much do your freedom mean to you? How much do justice mean to you. If you’re not willing to die for it, you’ll probably will never get it. Because in every struggle in this society throughout history, lives have always involved for someone to obtain their freedom or to obtain justice.
Report by Dennis Solo McKeithan, DB2253 at SCI Phoenix.