IlLOUminated

The Grand Jury Routine
IlLOUminated, Politics

The Grand Jury Routine

  My mother was elected to serve on a Midwestern Grand Jury this summer. She wasn’t allowed to disclose any information about the cases she reviewed, but her jury duty took an obvious toll. She would come home from hearings looking defeated. The routine was always the same: she would drop her keys on the…

Dear Missouri
IlLOUminated

Dear Missouri

To St. Louis, Ferguson-Florissant, Columbia, KCMO, SEMO, Maryville, Mizzou, Normandy, Hazelwood, Bingham Street, and North Side: From York, the slave of Lewis and Clark, to Dred Scott, to Mike Brown we have been leaders. Our Black men have been trailblazers to furthering the cause. They have been counted out, beaten down, and left out of…

How Active is an Activist?
IlLOUminated, The Modern Condition

How Active is an Activist?

Washington University in St. Louis’s college town is University City, or commonly referred to as U-City. U-City is the spot for all hormone fueled teenagers who can’t get into clubs yet, aspiring suburban drug dealers, random bearded and smelly hipsters, and college-aged folks who love to people-watch. U-City is a surefire melting pot in a…

This Veteran’s Day…
IlLOUminated, The Modern Condition

This Veteran’s Day…

This Veteran’s day, let us thank all the people in our military who fight to protect our freedoms and lives. Let us also remember the vigilante street soldiers who have been imprisoned and killed in their pursuit to uphold our Bill of Rights; such as, the Black Panthers and all the soldiers of the Civil…

OG, YG, Sick G (Part 2)
IlLOUminated, The Modern Condition

OG, YG, Sick G (Part 2)

I recently attended a Mental Health Symposium at American University which discussed mental health as a social justice issue. The insights I heard inspired this follow-up to “OG, YG, Sick G.” Mother, storyteller, survivor, and advocate Leah Harris describes how our society treats people with mental health illnesses as scapegoats for societal violence. Examples of…

#JusticeOrElse …Or Else, What?
IlLOUminated

#JusticeOrElse …Or Else, What?

    As a nod to the original Million Man March 20 years ago, this year’s march was held on the National Mall. The media coverage of the event (not including self-reporters and independent journalists like ourselves) was scant to nil. The peaceful and unproductive event felt like a sort of time warp. It was…

Rest Brown Boy Rest
IlLOUminated, The Modern Condition

Rest Brown Boy Rest

The car slows down to a stop. He glances over to his left at the memorial. Fresh flowers that looked like they were picked from the finest florist in town, Teddy bears that looked like if they were put in the right child’s arms they could cure cancer and… And dried blood in the middle…

OG, YG, Sick G
IlLOUminated, The Modern Condition

OG, YG, Sick G

“It’s already like we don’t have nowhere to go. I’m not even trying to make us, as black people, victims. But we are fuckin’ victimized and that, overall, makes me feel a certain type of way. I wake up knowing that nowhere is safe. They killed people in a church house. When shit is bad…

Who do #blacklivesmatter to?
IlLOUminated, The Modern Condition

Who do #blacklivesmatter to?

“A cop kills a kid and makes headlines all across the world. Granted, this has been going on for years now—not to call all cops “kid killers”—but it happens. Then, you got black people killing each other every day, actually outnumbering the police (killings.) (That violence) is actually internal. Why should I sit here and…