Yesterday, hundreds were arrested in New York City as they protested the acquittals of the officers involved in the Sean Bell shooting. Today, funeral services will be held for 22-year-old SUNY-Delhi student Tyshawn Bierria. Both young men were black. Both were murdered. One, Bell, shot by New York City police officers. The other, stabbed to death by black men his same age. One’s death sparks a movement. The other’s death goes relatively unnoticed.
Friend of Bierria and Baruch College student, Gabriel Hitt, reflects on the lack of outrage expressed when both the victim and the perpetrator are black.
Just five days after three New York City detectives were acquitted on all charges in what is arguably the most significant police brutality case in the city’s history, it is evident that the people one would expect to have learned from the case of Sean Bell haven’t learned much.
The murder of Tyshawn Bierria, who was stabbed outside of his SUNY-Delhi dorm and who died on Friday after being taken off of life support, is an illustration of the senseless acts which magnifies the self-hating disease that plagues young black men throughout America.
Tyshawn Bierria was not troubled. In fact, he was a senior undergraduate who was set to graduate in just two weeks. One has to ask how a young man, who managed to avoid the stereotypical lifestyle of an inner city youth, could die in such a manner?
In Chicago, there have been over 100 murders since January, most of them black on black crimes. Yet, people are quickly outraged over Sean Bell, and seem quite complacent when murders occur in their own backyard.
I’m in no way trying to minimize the significance of Sean Bell. But It doesn’t make sense to only shout that the cops are killing us when we are killing each other at a far greater pace. The fact is that black men are more likely to be killed by other black men than they are to be killed by police.
Still, Al Sharpton, Jeff Johnson, Nas and other public figures are not protesting, writing songs and speaking out about that!
In order for black people to move in the right direction towards change, as Senator Obama has made it the essential point of his campaign, people cannot continue to accept what has become normal for our black inner city youth.
I, myself, have seen my cousin buried at the age of 19. I have witnessed people in my community continue to destroy each other and have seen enough. I challenge the leaders in our community, as well as our councilmen and public figures to take a stand. Because if we do not take a stand now, we will continue to see our people fall.