#J4A: An Open Letter

June 19th, 2018 …

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I was sitting in my room, casually scrolling my social media feeds, flipping between Instagram and Facebook, spending my time double tapping people's selfies and reacting to comedic videos. This is normal for me on any evening. In the middle of my social media surf, I came across a video posted by a woman from Pittsburgh of 17-year-old Antwon Rose being murdered by Officer Michael Rosfeld and immediately sent it to my 1Hood “Wakanda Royal Family” group message. Once everyone got the chance to view this clip, there were a million questions floating around that all fall into the “who, what, when, why, where and how” categories. I surely couldn't tell them, I was only able to be a messenger and forward everything I saw to them.

Rose was shot three times in his back in the East Pittsburgh area on his attempt to flee from the scene. The police suspected the vehicle that Rose was in to be the same one from a shooting that happened previously that day. The officer that shot him, Rosfeld, was a man who had eight years of experience in other departments BUT he was sworn in a few hours before this incident.

This horrendous moment hasn’t even happened a month ago and the city of Pittsburgh is still on fire. I have been holding off on writing about this for days now, and I finally built up the courage to do so. In my writing, I wish to write brief letters to a few different people and groups. Not long, but still, just bear with me…

#1) Dear Ms. Kenney, the mother of Antwon Rose:

I know you’ve been inundated with people stretching their sympathy and condolences. I also know there is nothing that can replace a relationship between a mother and their child, but another thing I know is that the city is carrying you and your family on their backs. All of our love is going out to you, endlessly. We will not stopping fighting for you until justice is served in its entirety.

#2) Dear Shero, aka the woman who recorded the video:

You are absolutely one of the strongest, most bold people I’ve ever come across in my life. Recording it takes a lot of courage but posting it too? We appreciate it, and we appreciate you! If it wasn’t for you, I am almost 100% sure that there would have been lies coming from every direction about what REALLY happened but no one can do that when we have proof and you are the source of the proof.

#3) Dear Pittsburgh, the city that’s going the hardest:

Words can’t explain how proud I am of everyone in this city that is coming together to protest, donate to the family, block off the parkway until after midnight, create community affairs for Antwon Rose’s birthday celebration, EVERYTHING! This city has proven that we truly can stick together for a great cause and when we want something… we go and get it! “Turn up, don’t turn down, we do this for Antwon!”

#4) Dear Youth of Pittsburgh, the ones looking to make change:

We are the future; therefore, we are in charge of shaping the world we want to live in in the future. If there is something that we don’t like, we have a right to change it. These past few weeks have proven to the world that we don’t like what we see so we’re fixing it. Believe it or not, the youth have been front and center in these conversations taking place on the incident and the protest. We will continue to fight for what’s right, and that’s justice.

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#5) Dear 1Hood, the family, the Royal Family to be exact,

Where do I start? I actually have no idea but I’m going to wing it and hope I get my point across. From the front lines, poster creating, song dedications, social media support, basically the whole nine. I am pleased to be a part of such a vigorous group of individuals. There are lots of people who have dedicated innumerable days and nights to being there in support of Rose’s family but there aren’t many people that are fearless to speak in front of crowds of hundreds on how they feel or even to stand and lead by example, so with that being said… I am proud of you all, we’re all 1Hood.


Peace,
Tamia C.