Every morning I grab my phone and check the news. I woke up this morning and noticed that another black man died from gun violence. Yes, gun violence. Was I surprised? No. Angry? Yes. When will this all stop? When will the continuous killing of black men and women all over this country come to a halt? Eating breakfast and watching the news and hearing that another black man has been shot is mind-boggling.
His name was Saheed Vassell. Saheed was only 34 years old and living in Brooklyn. Officers approached the scene when they got calls reporting that a man was holding a silver object in his hand. Officers arrived at the scene where they saw Vassell holding up an object, they assumed it was a gun, and fired ten rounds at him. TEN! He was later taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Officers then found out that the object Vassell had been holding was a metal pipe. Saheed’s father told the New York Times that his son came to the United States when he was only 9, and suffered from bipolar disorder. Saheed was mentally ill and was shot right away for carrying a metal pipe. Sitting here typing this seems surreal. We see these white men make national news for going on a killing spree. The media begins to create this sob story for these white men, claiming they suffer from mental illness or complicated family background. Saheed Vassell worked as a welder and was a father to a teenager.
I ask myself on a daily basis, when will this stop? When will law enforcement begin to treat African Americans like the whites? One thing I know is that speaking out on these issues, and getting involved with your local protest can bring a change we need. I’ve been afraid that people may judge me based on my support for the Black Lives Matter movement or the way I believe that gun control should be enforced. Don’t be afraid that others may judge you based on your beliefs. Every day that we keep ourselves from talking about these issues going on in the world today, a black man gets shot. His name was Saheed Vassell. #BlackLivesMatter.