R.I.P. Kimani Gray

During the 15 years I coached baseball and basketball and ran basketball leagues in Brooklyn- from the mid-80’s through the late 90’s, I coached and worked with scores of Kimani Grays. They were in my van, in my house, part of my family. If you gave them respect, gave them space, and, when they were ready, showed them love, they returned everything five fold. Because of those experiences, I am both haunted and enraged by Kimani Gray’s murder. It is a terrible waste of a life with limitless potential, and an even more terrible commentary on a society who only knew how to deal with him, and young people like him, through deadly and impersonal force. And that force is being multiplied in the response to those protesting and crying out in pain. What kind of city and what kind of country is this. Disposable youth to be met with the full force of the state at random moments,. They don’t even have to be a threat at that moment. They just have to exist. There are no words for that kind of casual cruelty, especially since it secures the comfort of those insulated by race and class by the force of an oppressive state, unless they decide to join the ranks of protesters