Date: June 23rd, 2016
Place: Chicago, IL
Location: Red Line- CTA Train
Aprox: 47th street
Instrument of death: some kind of knife
Cause of death: ?????
Last Thursday, Jessica Hampton-
Sister. Daughter. Mother.
A young woman doing in the middle of doing the brave work
of rehabilitation and visiting halfway homes to get her 6 year old daughter out of foster care. To make her life whole again.
Last Thursday, she was murdered. Stabbed multiple times by a man that she may or may not have known.
I heard of this heartbreaking crime that occurred on a train that I ride everyday.
As is my preference and my calling, I started to look beneath the surface of the crime itself in search of which system or systems were responsible for it happening in the first place.
I racked my brain for hours.. days..
Trying to piece together a thread of consciousness
Trying to connect the dots from the years of legal and economic wars waged against Black folk, to the current condition of hopelessness so many of them feel today.
Taking the road less traveled to find some answers.
Trying to make sense of it
But this crime was senseless.
I attempt to use the righteous call of social justice as a vehicle for my closure.
But it isn’t that simple.
There are more questions than answers
How Jessica must have felt, desperately trying to escape her assailant.
She moved from train car to train car, but she couldn’t shake him.
Her feet were moving, but on this train, dear Jessica was going nowhere, fast.
I wonder how she must have felt to have been on a train surrounded by faces that looked like hers but yet still feel so all alone.
I wonder how her spirit, which was still very much alive while her physical body expired- I wonder how she must have felt to not see hands extended for help, but hands holding cell phones.
Soon her violence would go viral
I wonder how her boundless soul must be twisting in disbelief, watching over us
as the internet makes excuses for the murder.
As if she deserved to be cut down like a pesky weed
I wonder how her fellow passengers themselves must have felt helpless.
Desperately wanting to say something, to do something
to stop her murder, but were understandably hesitant.
Paralyzed by the possibilities of their own mortality
Patriarchy that turns into violence
Chicago- a city intentionally segregated to protect white and financial interests
A drug epidemic with no cure in sight
No refuge for peace on your streets
Extreme poverty : Nothing to live for (begets)
Extreme hopelessness: Nothing to lose
All of these have a place in this conversation
All of these social sins should stand trial
and be held accountable for the life stolen from Jessica and too many others.
But right now the puzzle isn’t that easy.
The answers aren’t as clear.
So what do we do when unexplainable tragedy happens?
When the answers aren’t as cookie cutter and easy bake oven ready as we’d like for them to be?
We do what we can do.
Which is to keep searching.
Keep acting: as in ,doing the work while we wait for those prayers to be answered.
And as Tavis Smiley always says, “keep the faith”.
In loving memory & hope for justice for