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Isaiah Lewis

Published 09/24/2019 | Reading Time 2 min 2 sec

OPINION | By Autumn Brown

A child, under the influence of THC and allergy medicine: Naked!

He was posing absolutely no threat to officers!

He was killed!

A man, admittedly under the influence of acid. Opens fire at officers — wounds a college campus officer, is tased and peacefully brought into custody

One was black — the other white.

I’m positive that I am not alone when I say that I am sick to death of this narrative.

Black men and boys are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police officers than their white counterparts. With Latino men and boys as well as black women and girls also killed at higher rates. “About 1 in 1,000 black men and boys in America can expect to die at the hands of police,” says Amina Khan, staff writer for the Los Angeles Times.

Fresh off the news that Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, “[did] not find probable cause to charge either Sgt. Milo Box or Officer Denton Scherman with a criminal act,” I am in a state of disgust.

“But Lewis didn’t listen to officers.” “He assaulted cops.” “He was non-compliant.”

These excuses and more fall on deaf ears when we see firsthand the treatment of white assailants versus black. It’s an outrage. And I wonder how we as a community can stop this madness.

In the words of Angela Davis, “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”

We need change, y’all. And I’m not talking policy or statute. Oklahoma statute was cited in Prater’s decision not to charge the officers who murdered Lewis.

When I say change, I mean community empowerment. I mean something resembling the Black Panther Party, originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Those empowered to protect and serve are murdering us. Sexually assaulting us and abusing us.

It’s time we take back control over our own lives. At its inception, the party’s core was the practice of arming its citizens to monitor the behavior of officers in Oakland.

Why is this a far-fetched idea present day? Police are still murdering us without recourse. And those we vote into power are not protecting our best interests.

Enough is enough. It’s not enough to only verbalize #BlackLivesMatter. We have to make the public feel it.

Revolution happens when we organize and form political power. Solidarity among our community. We can’t fight fire with fire, but we can work together to extinguish the blaze that continues to ensue the black community.

No more death at the hands of pigs!

Assata Shakur said, “I’m not quite sure what freedom is, but I know damn well what it ain’t.”

This ain’t freedom!

My heart and soul goes out to the family of Isaiah Lewis. You should have seen your baby boy graduate. Go to college. Grow into the beautiful black man he was destined to become. We will not forget him. We will not forget this. We will continue to fight corruption and murderers with a badge.

Remember his name!

Isaiah Lewis!


Autumn Brown is a doctoral student in social foundations of education at Oklahoma State University. Social foundations analyzes and explains educational issues, policies, and practices through the lenses of history, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies. Its goal is to improve the educational experiences for members belonging to marginalized groups. Her research focus centers around the experiences of black women in STEM and black women within the academy. She also researches racial body politics, sexuality, and intimate justice for black women. She has published a book chapter titled “Breaking the silence: Black women’s experience with abortion,” and has presented her work on the intense policing of the black female body nationally. Autumn plans on continuing her pursuits in bringing awareness to the injustices imposed on members within her community, and advocating for equitable education for black and brown students. She plans on finishing her Ph.D. in May 2020 and hopes to move into a tenure-tracked faculty position at a top tier research university.

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