Black community to write down their obituary before any of them becomes the next victim of police killings.
America doesn’t seem safe for any Black person anymore. Police constant hunt for African-American people has caused fear and panic in the Black community. This year alone, a total recorded number of Blacks killed by police is 197.
24-year-old Ja’han Jones’ parents had always told him how vulnerable he was and how he could be killed just because of his skin colour. The reality of this caution actually hit Jones when Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were killed by police officers.
At that moment, the Harlem-based writer penned down his own obituary. He wrote, “Ja’han Elliot Jones, 24, was unarmed when shot and killed in conflict with local police officers.” He added that “His familiarity with the Black canon steered him into a potent state of unapologetic Blackness ― one in which the James Baldwins and Young Jeezy’s; the bell hookses and the Queen Bey’s; the Frantz Fanons and the Futures all occupied hollowed, cherished beautiful space in Jones’ identity.”
Jones intended to publish his work but later held on, as he realised that some of his friends also had an ill-feeling about the police killings. This moved Jones to start a project known as the ‘Black Obituary Project’.
For the past few months, your friends and I have worked on a collaborative art project.
— Ja'han Jones (@_Jahan) September 25, 2016
The project seeks to give Black people the opportunity to write their own obituary so as to influence their own narratives. Jones also seeks to eliminate the false reports released by tpolice about the Blacks they have killed. His major concern is how they are always quick to criminalize the Black people they kill just to justify the wicked act.
As at now, Jones said he had gathered about 80 obituaries written by Black men. This he said is a prove that the issue of police brutality is a cause for worry to them. He further stated that his aim in this project is to highlight the growing number of Black people who fall prey to the diabolic acts of the cops.
Jarrett Payne, a contributing writer, disclosed that it was a difficult and very uncomfortable exercise to do; when a person had to write his or her obituary while being alive. He told HuffPost that he now realized he wasn’t ready to die, hence, the need to tackle this menace in our society.
— Makeda (@ikaari) September 29, 2016
This is a gruesome project, this is horrible dark sarcasm! A person writing his own necrology lives in constant fear of death. This feeling is close to what Jews in German concentration camps felt and now that’s also what a Black person feels in America. We often hear about the genocide of the past, but what about the present?!