Outside the Circle

Cindy Milstein

Seeds and Burials

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This sign is from one of so many — too many — vigils held by and for those who’ve lost their loved ones to killer cops. This particular three-hour vigil brought mostly black parents and siblings, especially female ones, together in Oakland — on Oscar Grand Plaza — for the telling of truths ignored by the “justice system” and the trading of intimate stories of needless, endless suffering. I think pretty much everyone cried, numerous times.

But on this one-year marking of Michael Brown’s assassination, what struck me most about the vigil pictured here through homemade signs was that families found each other. They held each other. They understood each other. It doesn’t make white supremacy and state violence go away; so many more have been murdered since this photo was taken, way back in spring 2015. Hundreds: black, brown, indigenous, trans and queer people, women, kids, poor, in mental or physical health crisis, homeless. Yet the systemic executions that brought those families together on that day — and on others, to riot and resist and rage — makes for collective space to mourn together, too. They found empathy and care in a way that nothing or no one can supply except each other. They forever share what the rest of us can only awkwardly, inadequately try to be compassionate about and fight against: death by cop.

There’s no “silver lining” a year later, but there are seeds. And burials still — still too often.

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(Photo by Cindy Milstein.)

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This entry was posted on August 9, 2015 by in Dispatches from Life, Dispatches from Rebellious Spaces.
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