My name is Matthew Rashaud Foster. I am currently a member of Community Passageway, which is a nonprofit organization that implements change to make the world a better place. Community Passageways helps create employment opportunities for youth who seek to grow from their mistakes. I was introduced to the organization by the head director, Dominique, who I have known for a very long time. We have had chemistry that goes way back to when I was 8 years old! Helping people is something that I love to do so the moment I became involved in the organization I wanted to be a part of the change that it brings. Our goal is to change the image that is portrayed on people of color who have been looked down up on, dehumanized by the media and stereotyped as thugs or animals. When youth become institutionalized it takes away from their ability to have basic needs such as a job or a place to live. People of color who also have records cannot apply for a stable job, because of the additional label that weighs them down for being considered a threat to society. There should be outreach with alternative support like what Community Passageways provides to support youth who are serving time and that need guidance and mentorship to make the world a better place.
The epitome of white supremacy is not realizing the inequality in how black people are treated in society or worse, taking advantage of their power. There’s a lot of inequality in the system coming from the men in suits and ties that create the laws and guidelines that are set to be followed by the justice system. Youth that have been going through troubled times are victims to these laws that are meant to serve justice and change their behavior but do not. The cycle is recreated over and over again because of the lack of opportunity that leads youth down the same path and it is not a coincidence. People of color are more likely to be statistics to this system by the way the strings are pulled by white puppet masters that enforce authority. This affects us by the powers they have because they control the media that creates the perception of our people by the way we look, how we talk and the environment we grew up in. We are the ones being put into institutions that chain us from are head to our feet, by those who do not know the struggles we go through in the hood which can be a dangerous area in the community.
People who have no idea what it is like to be black or to grow up and live in a poor community that we call the hood will never understand what people of my color go through as being black on a daily basis. Trouble finds you when the environment you live in is criminalized by the lack of having what is needed to put food on the table and live. A person of color can fit the description of a suspect because of the color of their skin, innocent to a guilty system that plays dirty to make money to shackle them. There have been numerous shootings done by the hands of police who have not served any time for the black peoples’ lives that been taken for no reason at all. Killings have been recorded on camera where there is no justification for the actions that took these lives. For a system to institutionalize our minds, bodies and souls is not right at all. I’ll never understand why are my people are looked down as an ant to step on, one thing that is certain we as a people will overcome all the obstacles that are thrown our way. What doesn’t kill us will make us stronger. Just like the ants we will unify and liberate our race to get fairness in a system where racism is an epidemic.
The Huffington Post wrote an article that explains the ongoing killings that occurred last year in 2016 in America that were caught on camera. With the proof that’s provided there should be no reason for these police officers not to be held accountable for their actions. When you watch the videos you can tell that these people were innocent and killed for no reason at all. There were 258 murders in that year that happened by the hands of the police who are supposed to serve and protect US citizens. 34 of the people killed were unarmed. The first killing that was mentioned happened in Charlotte, North Carolina. The person who was shot was a man named Keith Lamont Scott. He was the 173rd person shot and killed by the police in 2016. The man was unarmed and unable to defend himself self with his disabilities. The officer who was the shooter did not get any time for the violent behavior that was seen on camera. And In the video footage the officer who took the man’s life said there was a gun in the man’s hand, he felt as if life was in danger. The suspicious thing is that when you play the video you can see that there was no gun in the man’s hand. Another killing took place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The man who had his life taken away was Alton Sterling. He was the 135th person who was killed on camera. Alton was selling CDs in the back of his car until he was approached by law enforcement being excused of possession of a fire arm. In the video there was no gun in man’s possession which shows that this man was killed for being accused of having a weapon he did not conceal.
Justice needs to be served for the men that are no longer here. A US News article talks about African Americans who have been victims to police brutality in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the last 3 years. This is important because the people that were killed for stereotypical behavior that resulted in their lives being taken away were innocent. In conclusion, their life was in danger at the time of the incident, the police’s excuse was that they were doing their job and these people were a threat. The riots of the 1960s have played a huge role in the society that we live in today and inspire us to stand up against the violence of law enforcement. Since the shootings that happened in Chicago and Cincinnati, police officers have to wear body cameras to make sure every act is caught for all eyes to see and to hold every officer accountable for their actions.
In my drawing, I made art that speaks many words that will create impact and bring change to the lives of youth. I wanted to paint a picture that represents the equality that is needed to fix a system that was designed for people of color to fail. I have the space needle to represent the city where inequality is taking place. I am the voice that speaks on behalf of the streets of Seattle that never get the chance to talk about how we are being wrongly treated by a corrupt system. The kid with the Black Lives Matters t-shirt expresses the innocence of people guilty by association who have lost their lives through the perception of judging a book by its cover. The black fist represents how we will overcome the struggles we are facing in this society on a day to day basis and I drew the gavel to symbolize how over and over gain there has been no mercy shown to those in the court of law by judges who hold the weight of somebody`s future in their hands. Equality means changing the decision to punish a youth for a minor crime for adolescent behaviors or for a youth who has been wrongly accused.
Freedom of equality by any means.