|Vol. 10 No. 5
MARCH 5, 2015
Publisher & Editor
Lisa Peyton-Caire, Eileen Hocker,
Alfonso Zepeda Capistran, Theola
Carter, Fabu, Lang Kenneth Haynes,
Heidi Pascual, and Donna Parker
Webmaster: Heidi M. Pascual
It was such a total 180 degree turn early Friday night. At approximately 6: 30 p.m., Kaleem Caire was giving a positive presentation on the new
early learning child center that he was spearheading that will be opening up in the CDI building on Fisher Street. The crowd was in a pretty
celebratory mood because of the potential that the center has to assist pre-school children in developing a strong academic foundation.
At the same time, police received a report that a young Black man, Tony Robinson was hoping through traffic on Williamson Street. A sort time
later, Robinson was shot dead by Officer Matt Kenny, in what has been said to be his Willy Street apartment. It was an officer-involved shooting
of an unarmed Black male by a white police officer.
Last fall when the grand jury decision on the Michael Brown shooting was being handed down, the Dane County NAACP and many others said
that Ferguson could happen here. And at least the initial shooting has borne that out. Ferguson has happened here. Thank God that state
representative Chris Taylor got a bill passed into law that takes the investigation of police-involved shootings out of the hands of the police and
into the hands of the WI Dept. of Justice. Not only does that prevent a lot acrimony about the appropriateness of the police department
investigating itself, but it saves us a month or so in getting some kind of official determination about what happened.
Now I am sure that when the official report does come out, there will hardly be full acceptance of its conclusions no matter which way they go.
Cases from O.J. Simpson to Travon Martin show us that people’s racial background and experiences influence how people interpret the “facts”
of the case. People’s experience with the police will be a major filter by how they filter the facts from the official investigation.
And that is okay in the sense that our society still has a racial divide that greatly influences how people view the “objective reality” they find
themselves in. Eventually we will have to respect each other’s differences of opinion and be glad that they are being expressed in a public
manner. It is only by the open expression of them that we will ever move forward. By respecting each other’s experiences, we can develop not
only the policies that this community needs to be a truly cosmopolitan community where everyone can succeed, but also the common values
that we truly need to bind us together as Madisonians.
It is my hope that Young, Gifted & Black and other groups that are out on Willy Street as I write this to use the moment to ensure that Tony
Robinson did not die in vain. The people whom I know who are involved in Young, Gifted & Black are wonderful, sincere people and I would be
highly surprised and shocked if any of them would engage in or promote violence no matter how they are feeling about the death of Tony
At this moment, Young, Gifted & Black has the opportunity to show Madison and the world what Black youth are really about, how creative and
smart they are and how all of the vilification of young Black men by people with political agendas over the past 40 years is indisputably wrong
and a crime against humanity. The nation is watching. Kick it up to a higher level and send the vilification of young Black men and women into
the dungeons of history where the theory that the world is flat now resides. Seize the moment!
As of this writing, there have been no reports of violence by either the police or protestors. I know that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on this the 50th
anniversary of the Selma March, has to be smiling down on all. While violence may leave someone temporarily feeling empowered, it does
nothing to solve the problems that Madison is experiencing.
And if nothing else, the Tony Robinson shooting has to awaken Existential Madison that it takes more than thinking we don’t have racial
problems to make it so. It is going to take a lot of hard work and a lot of talking not only amongst leaders in Madison’s different communities, but
also amongst every day people during the course of their every day lives. That is when we will see the change occur. When leaders talk,
policies change and projects are funded. When every day people talk and take action, that is when true societal change occurs.I feel for Tony
Robinson’s family. Do not let his death be in vain. We owe him that.
|Fifth Annual Carter Fuller Memory Screening Day
Combating Alzheimer’s in the Black Community