Finding Her Voice In a Deaf “Homeland”

See also at SALON

Our “liberal” media push back when riled up MAGAheads spit venom laced with ignorance and stupidity. But the same media turn a deaf ear to the many articulate voices for justice and accountability that have been rising from all across this fracked nation, in their respective communities.

And while the media spends its umpteenth week covering, non-stop, what the Poor People’s Campaign co-chair Rev. Dr. William Barber has described as “Trump porn,” the words of unknown mothers like Theresa Joyce-Wynne remain lost in this air that surrounds us, thick with insular politics.

In September 2017, Theresa’s son Dominique White was shot in the back and killed by trigger-happy Topeka, Kansas police officers Michael Cruse and Justin Mackey. Nine months later at a Mom’s Demand Action rally in Topeka, Theresa spoke in public for the first time after the incident.

Here’s what she said, her voice cracking with emotion:

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[At this point, Theresa can’t go on. Shaking her head, she puts her arms around the neck of the person standing next to her and cries. She later said, “I did it, I spoke in public for the first time. Not sure how good I did tho. Finding my voice!!”]

For a few weeks now, I have been sitting outside Kansas’ 1st District Congressman Roger Marshall’s office in Salina, embroidering, among other things, the testimonies of Theresa and other victims of our government’s domestic and foreign policies. One day when I was out there working on Theresa’s testimony, a person walked up to me and asked me what I was doing. I told him, and his response was “Oh, so Dominique White was armed?” I told him that the police shot him in the back as he was running away, and he continued, “How do you know? Were you there?”

The point is that the fact that Dominique was carrying a gun shouldn’t make him more eligible to be shot in the back by the police than an unarmed black man would be. But this is the country where NRAliness is next to godliness.

According to the Washington Post, 987 people were shot and killed by the police the year Dominique died. Every state-sponsored perpetrator of excessive force and violence needs to be held accountable, and that might be possible in Dominique’s case. A hearing has been set for November 5 in a federal lawsuit filed by his family against Topeka’s city government and perpetrators Cruse and Mackey. Will there be justice?

Institutions that are supposed to protect us have been bought by cynical, violent entities like the NRA. We’ve been surrounded by all sides, and nobody is safe, including some members of our “well regulated militia” who thought they were “playing with guns” in Kansas on the night of the 25th. And when the whole shithouse goes up in flames, we will go down still getting our kicks from arguing over things like whether that thing Trump did with the Russians was collusion, conspiracy, kompromat, or footsie.

What will remain are the widely unheard but still-echoing words of mothers like Theresa.

Theresa’s testimony and supporting portraits of Dominique White, Theresa getting arrested by the Topeka police, & police chief Bill Cochran are cross stitch embroidery on fabric.

 

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