a work in progress

By Mahogany L. Browne   The name of this poem is: How to write a poem about ferguson Or The name of this poem is: How a black man dies and no one makes a sound Or The name of this poem is: Everywhere is Ferguson Or The name of this poem is: When the moonrise sounds like gunshots Or The name of this poem is: How to teach your babies to walk and not run, ever. Or How to teach your babies to carry a wallet the size of your smile Or The name of this poem is: How not to smile & make yourself a target Or The name of this poem is: How to write a poem the same size of Emmett Till’s lungs after they pulled him from the Tallahatchie River Or How to write a poem about America’s thirst Or The name of this poem is: Black blood’ll keep you thirsty Or The name of this poem is: I’m still thirsty, An American Horror Story Or How to write an escape route from a tornado Or How to write an escape route when the tornado’s name is Stop & Frisk Or How walk the streets...
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The Use of Force Continuum: Police, Power, and Prejudice

by Joe Ponce In Beavercreek, Ohio, under the glaringly white fluorescent lights of a Walmart superstore, John Crawford III walked around idly holding a BB gun he’d picked up from a shelf. He holds the gun limply (sometimes using it to scratch his back, his neck) as he speaks on the phone and wanders around the near-empty aisles. Somewhere else, perhaps in someone’s imagination, John Crawford III is stalking the aisles waving the gun around and pointing it at children. In reality, the police are called. When they arrive, they see the second, imagined John Crawford III instead of the bored shopper, the man on the phone: he is shot in the back from fifteen feet away, no doubt confused, as were we all, why the police opened fire on a man for walking around a store. He was killed on the spot. Often the police officers in this situation seemingly disappear from press and media coverage, whisked away under paid leave.  News outlets defend these absent cops, explaining the split second decision making that is required,(1) the pressures of the job and deadly nature of police work. Often in response, police Public Information Officers (“PIOs”) are told to give...
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