This is a story of a young man who loved to be strong. His mother lived in Tivoli Gardens. During the siege she called him and told him she was alone and afraid. He was executed by the army.
This skeleton of a story is catastrophe enough, but what about with real flesh and bones? With a life, with thousands of moments and stories in his soul. Does the story hurt even more when you consider that? It is a real one. This is the tragic story of a young man we call Roofie. He is far from a gun man or a heartless killer. Roofie has been volunteering with Fusion for years. If you knew him you would have seen him on our day trips, leading crazy activities for young people. Or you would have seen him helping out at community festivals engaging in all sorts of silliness and joy. This is the story of our friend, our brother. This is the story of a young man who died.
Not for being involved in violence or drugs, but for being in Tivoli Gardens.
The burden is heavy for his family: for his parents (including his step-mom) who have tried with all their might to do what's best for their children, his many brothers, for his sister who I've gotten the pleasure of knowing these last few months. It's heavy for his friends, for the men who are feeling like things are too hard.
The burden is heavy for all of us who are mourning Roofie, but it's heavy all over this city. Roofie's story is not the only story like this. Today in Mountain View police with their lips wet for revenge set out to murder gunmen or any civilian men they came upon. A young man was standing in his mother's shop, a police man shot him in both legs. While he continued to struggle to show them his id, explaining that he was a working man not a gun man, a police man shot him in the head. This story hurts too. It hurts me that there must be many more stories like this. It hurts me that the police are profiling other black men and wiping them out.
It hurts that the pain we are carrying in our hearts for Roofie is being carried by hundreds around this city. Not only at the loss of brothers and friends, but the pain of knowing that some men high on their own sense of authority have decided they have it in their power to decide who lives and who dies, to go into people's homes and shoot before asking questions. Who disregard the pleas and evidence around them that a young man is not a gun man, and take his life. We are in pain because life in this city, in this world, is not how it should be.
There's more to say, but for now that's enough.