Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lovelle Mixon Reflections

March 23

War has been declared...we need to close ranks and be careful. It's always tragic when life is taken or lost to violence, but is what Lovelle Mixon was doing what one would call living?

March 23 at 4:59pm

Is Oaktown the new Thebes?

Remember in the Greek story, Seven Against Thebes? In it two brothers killed each other over turf and the king said the dead brother could not be buried. This was the ultimate insult to his soul memory. His sister decided to defy this order on the threat of death. Will Power and Robert Henry Johnson produced a great hip hop version of the classic at Thick Description several years ago.

I wrote this before I knew that the police still had Lovelle's body. They still have it.

11:04am March 24

I went by the places where the police men and Lovelle lost their lives, 74th and MacArthur tonight (Monday, March 23). The people I met were saddened by the tragedy for all concerned. I think the media is trying to create a Frankenstein's monster out of Lovelle, by slandering his name, accusing him of crimes where there was no evidence... and the case tossed out of court (reminds me of SF8). All we know for sure is that he shot five police and 4 police are dead. This criminalizing him and dehumanizing him is one of the reasons why he is dead now, why he killed those police officers, themselves innocent bystanders in a scenario that predates their direct involvement and continues after their death. If we don't want this event to be one where life was lost in vain, then like Wilson Riles Jr. and others on the Morning Show ( stated we need to look at root causes, the systemic circumstances that produce a Lovelle--what a lovely name.

He was an innocent, like "the monster" in Mary Shelley's novel. He was loving and capable and willing to do whatever his guardians told him to do. It was Dr. Frankenstein who is the true monster in Shelley's scenario and in this one too. We need to keep our children out of these laboratories where they are not loved and supported, taught and guided in a way that helps them make the right choices. Where was the support network a parolee needs when he gets out and can't seem to find his footing? From everything I have read, Lovelle was in the water trying to stay affloat after only one swimming lesson. He needed a life jacket and in this way I think we are failing our youth. If most black men are connected to the New Plantation system, then we need to set up a system to grab them so Lovelle is not the norm, rather the exception. The BPP was started to police our communities, it worked both ways.

We need to take back our communities literally and offer a restorative justice model where everyone is accountable for their actions, and there are real consequences connected to breaking the law, but the consequences are correct and remedy the situation. I love this about SF Community Courts which we don't have in Alameda County. Richard Brown (SF8) is a justice in this court and he gives out sentences which teach and correct and keep those persons who end up in his court out of prison, and keeps the streets safer. I love the concept I learned at the Deep Insight Retreat with Dr.Fu-Kiau, that there is no good and no bad, just alternative perceptions. We need to close ranks, call the community together and have discussions about what ails us and come up with solutions applicable right now. If Lovelle needed a job, why couldn't he find the resources to help him? His parole officer is such a resource, but he is not the only resource and if Lovelle didn't like him, then what?

Written on March 24, 2009, the day the UN declared a Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, at the Uhuru sponsored Vigil for Lovelle Mixon

"Lovelle Mixon didn’t die in vain."

"Unity is what we have to do; get organized."

A lot of what people were saying was rhetoric, but perhaps this is what is needed—a new language to supplant the destructive messages of old? The Honorable Elijah Muhammad spoke of those who are blind to the knowledge of self—he called said they were deaf, dumb and blind. If this is true, then we’ve gone from a little red on the stick to completely white. Those of us who can still see a little need to guide those who slipping further into darkness.

"I am not a US citizen."

"All life is important. There is no superior life—people with a badge are not superior."

"Lovelle’s family doesn’t have his body yet."

"It’s hard to embrace someone who is abrasive to you, a young woman stated and then recalled an incendent where 30-40 police killed someone in cold blood in front of her house and then after the person was dead, high-fived each other and laughed."

"All life is essential. I’m prolife," she said.

"Rape?! I’ll never believe that. This is is not the Lovelle I knew. I’ll never believe it." A friend of Lovelle said.

"We don’t advocate violence." Uhuru organizers said repeatedly.

"I speak for the mothers, one woman said. I have grown sons. My husband has been in prison 30 years."

"Let our people go," another person at the Vigil for Lovelle stated as she recited from the bible. "I have a neighbor who got out of prison March 14 and is afraid to come outside."

"I’m 19, I didn’t graduate from high school, one young man stated. He spoke about rap music and the glorification of material things which if people believe will lead them further into bondage." A young man stated.

"Where is CNN? In 2-3 months I might be gone. Genocide between black people is real. The love is lost—material….Surviving is the (new) movement. We’ve got to love ourselves, the woman next to me said. It starts with self and then others."

"We have to show each other love. Treat each other better—I can’t love you if you don’t love yourself."

A white Uhuru movement member spoke. She always gets a lot of attention because she is an eloquent reminder of an oppressive system which is cyclical and repetitive.

She said, "This system is founded on slavery and injustice—it makes a profit off black and poor people’s suffering."

Casper Banjo’s name was called and that of other victims of police violence. The police review commission found that the officer who shot Casper in 2008 did not use excessive force.

"We need to explore other avenues. We have philosophies. We built this place and need to use a new strategy to (prevent this type of tragedy from happening over and over again.) There is nothing the Lord can’t handle," another person said.

There was a lot I could have done this evening, but I wanted to go by the Uhuru sponsored vigil for Lovelle Mixon. Held outside the Eastmont Police Station along 73rd Avenue in East Oakland. The rally was an opportunity for the dissenters to voice their feelings of loss, anger, frustration and sorrow. Everyone had a few minutes on the mic and as the sun set and the comments wrapped, organizers read a statement, shared information about their weekly organizing meetings and then passed out lit candles for those assembled to march around the corner and put the candles on the altar outside the apartment where Mixon was killed, after shooting and killing two more policemen.

As I crossed the street and rounded the corner, I looked into the barbershop where the proprietor had tried to save one of the police on Saturday afternoon, to no avail. Cars passing by the vigil/rally and those stopped so we could cross the busy thoroughfare honked in solidarity.

The overall message this evening was love from a woman with grown sons and a husband behind bars, to the nineteen year old Laney college student and an older man who tried to share a little wisdom, but the hecklers weren’t hearing it. He was one of the only people interrupted; even an inebriated woman was allowed to have her say. Parents had their children out and friends of the slain man, Mixon, spoke of his character which was being maligned further with accusations of rape and murder.

I hadn’t known his body was still in police custody. I wonder why? I hadn’t attended an Uhuru event in a long time. Their meeting hall is an old art studio. I didn’t make it by the Oakland Museum for the community cinema screening. I’d wanted to support my friend Nunu Kidane who was on a panel to talk about African women, sustainable development, and a green economy. I’d also played with the idea of going to Palo Alto to see Ain’t Nothing but the Blues. I got lost Sunday and missed it.

I walked the Lake instead. I needed to shake off the death and sadness. I don’t know if I am going to the memorial on Friday. It is going to be pageantry and in contract to what is happening with Lovelle Mixon—the contrast is striking. But I think I’ll go as a witness.

I was supposed to be on KPFA last night and I fell asleep.

I have been writing about this young man all week. I started the day he was killed and have continued the conversation for the past week. The injustice surrounding the entire event and the lack of sympathy for his family is palatable. The healing needs to be inclusive and embracing for a true healing to take place…as long as life is so clearly seen as having different cuts or value—steak vs. shank, then the war will not end and people will still lose their lives and take others along with them to hell.

Lovelle left a hell behind, one he didn't create, yet still burns fiercely, fueled with those who are in similar situations as Lovelle and the police who are hired to keep the peace. Peace is relative...its definition a moving target.

For those at the bottom of the heap, getting up is really hard when one is standing on an oily surface or worse a bar of wet soap. Soap might get things cleaned up, but all soap doesn't cut grease, so when the tub is rinsed –the 500 year old stain remains.

Wanda Sabir at 6:06pm March 26 to Uhuru

The candlelight vigil was lovely last night. Great work! I hope the Uhuru organizing efforts prevents another tragedy like this one for all concerned: Lovelle Mixon and the 5 police, 4 killed, and this tragedy's residual effects on the black community.

The planning has started and we need to plan too, because we are not going to like the results ... which might address the symptoms, but not the root causes of such violence--otherwise more folks who have such easy access to guns are going to go off with dire results once again.

Police don't need an excuse to shoot a black man or black child. Black people don't need an excuse to shoot a police man. It's a war, and we need to draw up a peace treaty and get the American government to sign it, one city, one county, one state at a time. And invest some money in programs and people who have proven track records.

I am a homeowner and I want my tax dollars to support and affirm life, not death. I pay the mayor, police, fire fighters...salaries.

Uhuru Event Sunday, March 28

African People's Education and Defense Fund Informational Meeting, Sunday, March 29, 2009, 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. at Uhuru House, 7911 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, CA, (510)569-9620 and

March 28
I don't know how much the display of public support for the grieving families cost, from the rally on Tuesday in East Oakland, to the huge memorial yesterday at the Oakland Arena, but it wasn't inexpensive. When I think about the city employees who have to take unpaid leave each month to keep the city from going broke, I wonder where this money comes from. The state covered police services for the City of Oakland yesterday also, while all the OPD attended and participated in the funeral services. Again, where did that money come from?

Are we printing money on an old press in some back room? If there is money to pay for such ostentatious displays of public grief, including today's public healing circles at the many Oakland Park and Rec Centers, then why was Lovelle Mixon unemployed? Why are most young black men in Oakland unemployed? Why are people on lists for treatment facilities, why are clinic underfunded and schools closing?

It's sad that these men lost their lives, but they are dead. The living need the resources and I don't appreciate the mayor using my tax dollars so frivolously without my permission.


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