“Transforming Injustice!” — Watercolor Series

“Transforming Injustice!” Collage by Kathy Manis Findley

“TRANSFORMING INJUSTICE!”

A SERIES OF WATERCOLOR PAINTINGS
ON RACIAL INJUSTICE AND WHITE PRIVILEGE

Watercolor Paintings ~ Series Narrative ~ Meditations

Rev. Kathy Manis Findley
September 8, 2020
Revised April 12, 2021


“Transforming Injustice!” — A Video Introduction to the Watercolor Series

Video created by Kathy Manis Findley | Video editing by Marvin Black, Creative Media Services


“Transforming Injustice!” — Watercolor Series Narrative

Collage by Kathy Manis Findley

This watercolor series offers an artist’s response specifically to the murder of George Floyd, but also a response to the murders that happened in the same time period — Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Tony McDade. Given the many violent acts that occurred around this time period, it was difficult to capture a single portrait the could adequately portray the trauma of a nation, indeed the trauma of many nations. But we are watching the violent stories and hearing the past and current cries of people calling for justice. The art is inspired by these events and emerges from my life experiences, my work over the years, my family, my long-held convictions, my passion and my emotions. From that place of “me,” this response to the June 2020 racial injustice emerges.

At the outset, I must acknowledge my own inadvertent racism and my complicity (if inadvertent) in the systemic racism around me. I am constantly aware that I function in the space of white privilege whether or not I “know” it or own it. Please know also that my narrative and my art come from my soul as well as from the experiences of life that shaped me. Whatever I have seen and heard and felt, whatever I have experienced over many years of life, somehow catapulted me into a life-long journey of justice advocacy.

At the outset, I must acknowledge my own inadvertent racism and my complicity in the systemic racism around me. I am constantly aware that I function in the space of white privilege whether or not I “know” it or own it.

— Rev. Kathy Manis Findley


My quest at times led me to fight for justice for women, for victims of abuse, for prisoners, for black and brown persons, for immigrants, for the poor, for LGBTQ+ persons.  For whatever reason, My upbringing created in me a person who abhors injustice and who passionately advocates for justice. I don’t apologize for that, but I do continually seek God’s guidance in the ways I act for justice.

One of my advocacy commitments is to use my voice, my writing and my art. In a vigil following George Floyd’s death hosted by the Alliance of Baptists, I made a commitment to create the Transforming Injustice! Series of watercolor paintings. This narrative grew out of that commitment.


About the “Transforming Injustice!” Watercolor Series

As I said earlier, Transforming Injustice! is a watercolor art series that began as a response to the murder of George Floyd and the resulting protests in cities across the nation. The art will not end there, for the anger, pain and grief of thousands of protesters may have been sparked by the image of George Floyd being asphyxiated by the knee of a law enforcement officer, but that spark is only small ember compared to the fires of racial injustice that have burned throughout our history. The art series will begin with the death of George Floyd, but each watercolor that follows will seek to evoke emotions around the racial injustice and systemic racism that has been the fabric of life for centuries.

The evil depth of the racial injustice in our world must be transformed, both within each individual heart and within the systems that have continually perpetuated racial division and hate.

We cannot simply protest against racial injustice, or pray for its end, or demand that our systems change. The evil of racial injustice must be transformed, both within each individual heart and within the systems that have continually perpetuated racial division and hate. May our God, and the Gods worshipped by all people, inspire us to discover the ways through which each of us might begin the transformation.


The Inspiration Behind “Transforming Injustice!”

My cousin Nick, who has forever been a modern mystic and a deep thinker, recently sent me the following words. He pondered, as he often does, and found this buried deep in his spirit.

What I Was Thinking This Morning                                       nick talantis

Over 100,000 dead. And there’s one more.
Not the corona.
A copper’s knee.

I can’t breathe.
It’s happened too many times to count.

I can’t breathe.
It happens in the east.

I can’t breathe.

It happens in the west.

I can’t breathe.
It happens in the south.

I can’t breathe.
It happens in the north.

I can’t breathe.
The white man is keeping the black man down.

I can’t breathe.
A badge of pride gone to shame.

I can’t breathe.
Where is the hope we can overcome?

I can’t breathe.
Hope is lost in the fire of anger.

I can’t breathe.
How does sanity prevail?

I can’t breathe.
Eye for eye—no—it’s not the way.

I can’t breathe.

When the fire dies down.
Take a breath.

When you are face to face.
Take a breath.

When you sit together.
Take a breath.

Remember Martin’s way. Remember, when we sit in peace, breathing.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.

Martin said that.

A riot is the language of the unheard.

Martin said that.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Martin said that.

And I believe him.

I say we have to get back to non-violence.
We have to kneel, in the face of adversity.

We have to have equality.
Equality for every man, every woman, every race, every one.

We are all the same.
We all have the right to breathe.

— Nick Talantis

Amen, cousin! May the very breath of the Spirit make it so through us.



The Transforming Injustice! Watercolor Paintings

One of the ways I have committed to work for transformation is through watercolor art and narrative, in hopes that at least one person will have an emotional response to the art that inspires and calls out, “Are you transforming injustice? Will you transform injustice? In what ways will you transform injustice?”

Watercolor #1 in the Transforming Injustice! Series

“I Can’t Breathe!”

You may purchase prints at this link:
https://kalliopeswatercolors.wordpress.com/2020/06/09/i-cant-breathe/


George Floyd pleaded as police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck and pinned him to the ground on a Minneapolis street until he died. His death sparked protests in cities all over the world. 

The New York Times reconstructed the death of George Floyd from security footage, witness videos and official documents. On May 25, 2020, The Times created a video entitled “8 Minutes and 46 Seconds: How George Floyd Was Killed in Police Custody,” which was published on June 4, 2020. This painting is based on a frame from that chilling video.

Floyd’s chilling final cries of “I can’t breathe” are not only the same words uttered by Eric Garner as he was being choked by police officers in New York in 2014, but also by Jimmy Mubenga who in 2010 died on a plane on a Heathrow runway while being restrained by three immigration officers.

For all of us, it is hard to breathe while watching the video of George Floyd unable to breathe, calling out to his mother. It is hard to breathe when we have seen the stark reality of racial injustice.

~ A Moment of Meditation and Prayer ~

Lament may well be the beginning of transforming injustice. Spend a moment lamenting the unjust, violent deaths of our brothers and sisters.

George Floyd could not breathe as he was being murdered. Meditate on the times when danger, pain or suffering caused you to feel as if you could not breathe. In what ways did you experience suffering of the soul?

Could your soul’s suffering move you to deeper concern for those harmed by racial injustice? Can you acknowledge complacency, refusing God’s call to work for justice?  Jesus rebuked this in the Pharisees:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin.

But you have neglected the more important matters of the law —
justice, mercy and faithfulness.”

(Matthew 23:23 NRSV)

~ A Prayer of Lament ~

God of justice for all creation,
Give us hearts that lament the sufferings of those who are oppressed.
Comfort us in our own times of suffering.

When deep pain causes us to cry out, “I can’t breathe,”
infuse us with Spirit breath,
that we might rise and stand firmly against injustice.

May our soul’s lament stir us to transform injustice,
in every place, for every person, whenever racism threatens,
for this is your will and our holy mission. Amen.


Watercolor #2 in the Transforming Injustice! Series

“Riot Gear, Projectiles, Tear Gas and Tears”

You may purchase prints at this link:
https://kalliopeswatercolors.wordpress.com/2020/06/19/riot-gear-projectiles-and-tear-gas/

Thousands of protesters marched through central London in an overwhelmingly peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration sparked after the police killing of George Floyd in America. The demonstrators, the vast majority of whom were under 30, chanted: ‘No justice, no peace, no racist police’, ‘I can’t breathe’ and ‘the UK is not innocent’, in a lockdown-defying demonstration that was largely organized through word of mouth and social media, not by established anti-racism groups.

“I can’t breathe!” I can’t forget those words. I won’t forget those words. But I know in my heart that change will arise out of the ashes of racism. Officer Derek Chauvin and three other policemen involved in the incident have been fired from the force. Chauvin has since been arrested and charged with third degree murder. His trial began at the end of March 2021. Change will come.

~ A Moment of Meditation and Prayer ~

If lament is the beginning of transforming injustice, then our lament as a spiritual discipline is the foundation for our prayer and meditation. 

Spend a moment lamenting “tear gas and tears.” 

Consider the fear that our brothers and sisters must have felt as they experienced this violent assault. 

Consider the indignity they felt, their thoughts in that moment as others treated them as if they were less than human.

Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt the oppression of indignity, that you were not being treated as a person of worth. If you can not recall such a time, ask yourself if privilege shielded you from experiencing disrespect.

Meditate on the times when you were cruelly and intentionally treated as if you had little or no worth. How did that experience feel? In what ways did you experience suffering of the soul?

Could your soul’s suffering move you to deeper concern for those among us who are not afforded dignity and worth?

Will your advocacy for justice include your proclamation that all persons are persons of sacred worth, loved and cared for by a God who abhors injustice?

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance . . .

I come to the end — I am still with you.
(Psalm 139:1-2; 13-16; 18 NRSV)


~ A Prayer of Lament ~

O God, who created us all in your image,
Give us souls that lament over the suffering of those who feel they have no value,
those whose oppressive life experiences have convinced them
that they are not persons of sacred worth.

Comfort us in times when we feel we are of little value.

O God, who created us all in your image,
Give us souls that lament over the suffering of those who feel they have no value,
those whose oppressive life experiences have convinced them
that they are not persons of sacred worth.

When deep pain causes us to lament,
grant us the Spirit’s wind of comfort.

If we resist your call for justice,
grant us Spirit wind and fire
that we might rise and stand firmly against injustice.

May our soul’s lament stir us to transform injustice,
in every place, for every person, whenever racism threatens,
for this is your will and our holy mission. Amen.


Watercolor #3 in the Transforming Injustice! Series

“Refiner’s Fire”

You may purchase prints at this link:
https://kalliopeswatercolors.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/refiners-fire/

The painting is inspired by a photo of a Minneapolis check-cashing business burning to the ground as a protester raises his fist. (Photographer: John Minchillo / AP) This watercolor is almost completely filled with fire — raging, out of control, consuming fire. In the center, a man stands in the embers unafraid, raising a clenched fist.

Why is he raising his fist? In protest of racial injustice? Or perhaps to welcome the Refiner’s Fire, the kind of fire it will require for America to dismantle racial injustice! 

Think for a moment about the powerful words of the Prophet Zechariah:

And I will put this third into the fire,
and refine them as one refines silver,
and test them as gold is tested.

They will call upon my name,
and I will answer them.

I will say, ‘They are my people’;
and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

(Zechariah 13:9 English Standard Version ESV)

We can only guess at the reason that the man in the painting is standing before the fire, fist raised. Most would consider his stance to be defiant or angry. Perhaps he welcomes the destruction he is witnessing. Perhaps he has had enough of racial injustice and is ready to fight in the movement to dismantle it.

But I would like to offer a different reason: that the unnamed man is declaring that he is ready to offer his life in the quest for justice. Maybe he has already been in the Refiner’s fire, purified! Giving himself to the cause of justice, knowing that the Refining God desires justice even more fervently than he does, and remembering in his soul the words of the Prophet . . .  Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5:24 New Revised Standard Version NRSV)

The time has come for us to transform injustice, to watch as justice rolls down like waters throughout our nation and to see righteousness flow into every heart with transforming grace and mercy. But to see the advent of true transformation, we must be willing to plunge ourselves into the Refiner’s Holy Fire, so that every one of us willing to protest and to work will do so with purified, righteous hearts.

The time has come for each of us to transform injustice, to watch as justice rolls down like waters and to see righteousness flow into every heart with transforming grace and life-giving mercy. May God make it so!

God stands ready to use holy fire to refine us and purge our sins, for God is a God of justice, When we can honestly declare, “The Lord is my God,” we will be ready to invite God’s refining fire to burn away the dross of our collective and personal sin of racism, leaving a “refined” people — a precious metal purified and standing ready to transform injustice! May God make it so!

As a people who have invited God’s refining fire to purge our sin, we move forward in the slightest measure of hope. For my black and brown brothers and sisters, my prayer is that they are able to hold on to hope as their ancestors did so courageously. I pray that they will see this moment in America as a transformative moment that will finally bring about systemic change. Most of all, I pray that this moment truly is transformative and that positive changes will last. 

~ A Moment of Meditation and Prayer ~

Lament may bring us through the Refiner’s Fire. Our lamentations as a spiritual discipline must be the rock upon which we stand in working to transform injustice. Indeed, lament is the foundation for our prayer and meditation. 

Spend a moment lamenting the current fires of protest in our nation. Meditate on the reasons for a refining fire for individuals and for collective groups of people.

Are you courageous enough to ask God for the “refiner’s fire” you need? The burning of the soul’s dross that will empower you to confront injustice?

Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt the suffering of a refining fire in your soul? Were you frightened? Did you consider it a part of God’s preparation for your calling?

Could your soul’s suffering move you to deeper concern for those among us who are in a fire of suffering caused by those who would harm them because of the color of their skin?

Will your advocacy for justice include your conviction that all persons deserve justice and your unwavering intention to join them in the struggle?

Listen to me, my people,
and give heed to me, my nation;
for a teaching will go out from me,
and my justice for a light to the peoples.
(Isaiah 51:4 NRSV)

~ A Prayer of Lament ~

O God, who knows the fires of the soul we have endured,
Give us the strength to lament as we languish.

Create pure hearts in us and help us to tenderly touch the hearts
of those who suffer the oppression of racial injustice.

Grant us the courage to abide in your refining fire
until the dross in our souls becomes as pure as fine gold.

When deep suffering causes us to lament,
grant us Spirit comfort and healing.

If we resist your call for justice,
nudge us into holy action.

May our soul’s lament stir us to transform injustice,
in every place, for every person, whenever racism threatens, 
for this is your will and our holy mission. Amen


Watercolor #4 in the Transforming Injustice! Series

“They’re Still Not Hearing Us!”

You may purchase prints at this link:
https://kalliopeswatercolors.wordpress.com/2020/07/25/theyre-still-not-hearing-us/

This painting is inspired by an Associated Press news photo tLaken by Jacquelyn Martin, who captured this historical moment in her photo of demonstrators gathering to protest the death of George Floyd — on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, outside the U.S. Capitol. 

What inspires me is that this is a protest of voices calling out for justice and armsraised, imploring their government for change. It is not a protest of guns or clubs or other instruments of violence. It is simply a protest from hearts that tirelessly cry out, “They’re still not hearing us?”

Indeed “they” are not hearing. “They” responded with military force to this nonviolent event. According to Associated Press reporters Robert Burns and Michael Balsamo, the National Guard of the District of Columbia is investigating the use of one of its helicopters to make a “show of force” against protesters near the White House, while President Donald Trump is encouraging authorities to get tougher to quell the unrest over George Floyd’s death. The helicopter, normally designated for use in medical evacuations, hovered low enough to create a deafening noise and spray protesters with rotor wash.

~ A Moment of Meditation and Prayer ~

How long, Oh Lord, must we endure ears that refuse to hear, systems that refuse to listen to the cries of the soul? May our lament be our spiritual discipline this day as we cry out before our God of Justice. Lament is the foundation for our prayer and meditation.

Spend a moment lamenting the reality that anguished cries for justice are not heard. Meditate on how you feel when your voice was not heard, today and in times past.

Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt your voice was not heard? Were you angry? Did you consider your anger to be a part of God’s preparation for your calling?

Can you express angry lament when injustice seems to be rampant? Are you courageous enough to persevere, to persist, to raise your voice before ears that will not hear your words? 

Will you allow your angry lament to be transformed into holy resolve to seek justice?

Will you continue to protest and allow your heart to tirelessly cry out, “They’re still not hearing us?”

For the hearts of these people are hardened,
and their ears cannot hear,
and they have closed their eyes—
so their eyes cannot see,
and their ears cannot hear,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and let me heal them.
(Matthew 13:15 NLT)


 ~ A Prayer of Lament ~


O God, who heals our brokenness,

Help us to continue to lift our voices until ears are open,
until those who have refused to hear finally listen to those who suffer injustice. Receive our angry lament and transform our anger into righteous action.

Hear the anguish of every mother assaulted by violence against her child. Hear the angry shouts of young people as shouts of frustration, fear and despair.

Grant us the courage to persist in shouting out your demand for justice
for as long as it takes.

When deep suffering causes us to lament,
grant us Spirit wind and let us soar.

If we resist your call for justice,
compel us to holy action.

May our soul’s lament stir us to transform injustice,
in every place, for every person, whenever racism threatens,
for this is your will and our holy mission. Amen.


Watercolor #5 in the Transforming Injustice! Series

“Lift Hope High!”

You may purchase prints at this link:
https://kalliopeswatercolors.wordpress.com/2020/07/26/lift-hope-high/

My inspiration for this painting comes from a photo taken by Adrees Latif of Reuters on June 8, 2020. At a candlelight vigil honoring George Floyd, the photographer captured an image that depicted small lights of hope lifted up by local residents and alumni of Houston’s Yates High School.

Cornell West has said, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” Indeed! I see in the people depicted in this image the kind of love that led them to gather as one community, expressing their love for their community and a longing for “Beloved Community.”*  

In this image, the sky is filled with ominous dark clouds. Yet there is light that that peeks through to help us remember that hope abides. Hope is veiled at times, hidden from those who need light most. The people in the image are holding up tiny lights. They are doing this together, near one another, raising the light as one people. We cannot see the color of their skin, but it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that they are lifting lights of hope — together. Perhaps when we lift lights of hope together, it will be just enough light to illuminate the next step in our quest for racial justice. 

May the God of justice make it so!

~ A Moment of Meditation and Prayer ~

May lament be our spiritual discipline this day as we continue to lift hope high. Lament before God can keep us open to new hope even in the midst of despair.

Take a few moments lamenting the present reality of protest and pain. Meditate on how you feel when your hope is small. Think about the times in your life that caused despair.

What was your path to renewed hope? 

Can you lift hope high for those who cannot hold their own hope, those who feel as if their cries for justice have been in vain? 

Will your allow your hopelessness to be transformed into an unrelenting quest for justice?

The Scripture is full of stories that tell of someone’s loss of hope, never more poignant than in the Book of Lamentations.

I do not have much longer to live; my hope in the Lord is gone.

The thought of my pain, my homelessness, is bitter poison.
I think of it constantly, and my spirit is depressed.

Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing:
The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue,
Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.

(Lamentations 3:18-23 GNT)


~ A Prayer of Lament ~

God of all hope, healer of the soul,
How great is your faithfulness!


Help us to lift hope high, to give hope away,
to lift up hope for our sisters and brothers until Black lives (really) matter.

Help us to cling to hope in the midst of our despairing,
to hold hope tightly in times when we are disconsolate.

Hear our lament and transform our despairing hearts into hearts of boldness
that inspire us to acts of justice and mercy.

Hold the hopelessness of every Black family.
Hold the hopelessness of Black boys who fear violence that threatens.
Hold the hopelessness of Black girls who fear the terror of the night.

And in the darkest nights of the soul,
O God, lift up holy lights of hope before us.

In your great faithfulness, God, give us faithful hearts full of hope.

And give us courageous hearts of perseverance,
that we might lift up lights of hope’s justice
for as long as it takes to transform injustice.

When these days of violence cause us to lament,
grant us a Spirit of hope that soars beyond our despair.

If we resist your call for justice, God,
compel us to righteousness that lets the oppressed go free.

May our soul’s lament stir us to transform injustice,
in every place, for every person, whenever racism threatens,
for this is your will and our holy mission. Amen.



~ A Personal Lament ~

I am the mother of a black son. Being his Mama is not my lament; it is the deepest joy of my life. But my lament was to come. As he grew up, my lament was for his safety and well-being. As a young child — precious, cute and full of mischief — he was dearly loved by all who knew him. We raised him in a modest house in a black neighborhood in Little Rock, Arkansas. Racism’s ugly head did not take long to rise up in his protected world.

“Why do you look so blackish?” — An elementary school teacher

“Why are your parents white?”— A question he was asked numerous times

Just words! Not all that hurtful. But in his teenage years, the hurt began. We never knew about it until one day he told us in one of our rare conversations. This conversation actually went beyond, “Tell me about your day.”  “It was fine.” Period. That was it. End of conversation. But on this one day, we sat together and talked for quite a long time and talked about many things. I will never forget what our son told us that day.

I was furious. Beyond furious! Fortunately it was night and offices were closed, so I had a few hours to compose myself and let my anger dissipate a bit. But the next morning I gathered every ounce of my white privilege and headed first to see the Little Rock Chief chief of police and after that, the Mayor, both colleagues and friends. “Privilege” — white privilege and connection privilege — got me into their offices immediately.

You see, I was “connected” as a trainer of law enforcement and district attorneys from all over the country including in our city. I chaired the Little Rock Commission on Domestic Violence and the Little Rock Commission on Children, Youth and Families. I served on the Little Rock Prevention, Intervention and Treatment Grant Committee, approving grants and dispensing funds to community programs. 

I taught classes every week to inmates incarcerated at the Pulaski County Detention Center and to young people at the Pulaski County Juvenile Detention Center. I was president of the board of the Arkansas Coalition against Sexual Assault, executive director of our Children’s Justice and Protection Center and I was involved in the courts as a certified child forensic interviewer. I served on the FBI’s Task Force on Sexual and Domestic Violence, on the Sixth Judicial District Sexual Abuse Management Team, on the Pulaski County Multidisciplinary Child Abuse Team and on the Arkansas Women’s Health Workgroup.

I tell you all this so that you can understand that I walked into those offices with a boatload of privilege, white privilege and “connection” privilege. It shames me and breaks my heart to say that, because even in my conversations with city officials that day, I knew my privilege spoke for me. I was the WHITE mother of a black son and I was totally connected in the work of our city. I could not help but wonder if a black mother of a black son would have received such wide-open doors to the city’s “system.”

I don’t think so, and I say that with the most sincere regret and the shame of being a part of an oppressive system. Yes, it is true that my presence within that system may have made it somewhat less oppressive. Nonetheless, I was there working with that system, helping it function, contributing to its survival and thus, condoning its oppressive acts by my involvement and my tacit sanction.

This is a story about living with the sins of the past, about watching a shocking, scandalous, shameful video in which a black man cries out, “I can’t breathe!” and knowing that you have done so little to end such blatant and horrific injustice. There are now so many names that we don’t even remember, and the more recent ones that we do remember, the ones that strike close to home for me:

Trayvon Martin

Philando Castille

Ahmaud Arbery

Breonna Taylor 

Tamir Rice 

Stephon Clark


Tony McDade

Eric Garner

George Floyd

I can’t begin to record every name, but I want to end with this one that is special to me because I so admire his mother, a long-time friend.

Bradley Blackshire

Bradley’s mother, Kimberly Blackshire-Lee, attended the trauma class I taught at the Pulaski County Detention Center. Over time, she became a dear friend and colleague. Kimberly works as a substance abuse counselor at Phoenix Recovery Centers of Arkansas.

Her son, Bradley, was killed on February 22, 2020, by a Little Rock police officer who fired his gun through Bradley’s windshield 16 times.

May they all, and the ones whose names are not here, rest in peace, and may their memories be eternal.

In this moment of remembrance, O God, may we memorialize every person who died at the hands of law enforcement. Embrace their mourning families, O God, with your grace and give them strength for this day and bright hope for each tomorrow. Amen.


In July of 2014, a cellphone video captured some of Eric Garner’s final words as New York City police officers sat on his head and pinned him to the ground on a sidewalk: “I can’t breathe.” On May 25 of this year, the same words were spoken by George Floyd, who pleaded for release as an officer knelt on his neck and pinned him to the ground on a Minneapolis street until he died.

“I can’t breathe!” I can’t forget those words. I won’t forget those words. This morning, although I have already hundreds of words here, I can say in honesty, I have no words. At least I have no words that mean much in these horrific days.

I have tears. I have sadness. I even have some anger that the people I love whose skin is not “white” are living in grief, frustration, bewilderment, anger. Once again, the system has betrayed them. I say only that right now, injustice and oppression clings so closely to my friends, today aa in centuries past. 

One of my close Little Rock friends posted these words on Facebook: “All the Black people in your life are tired today. Don’t ask us for nothing.”

I hear her. I hear my friend cry out for justice. 

I hear her using words to make sense of it all, and I hear her voice, and every voice, fall silent. 

Silent, with just these words posted by my friend, “I’m tired.”

I want to see her face to face. I want to sit together. I want to comfort her, hoping beyond hope that it is not too late for comfort.

After responding to her post, I happened to read this horrific headline:

Prosecutors in Hennepin County, Minnesota, say evidence shows Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for a total of 8 minutes and 46 seconds, including two minutes and 53 seconds of which Floyd was non-responsive.     — ABC News

“I’m tired!”  “I can’t breathe.”



A Tribute to
U.S. Congressman John Lewis

Member of
the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia’s 5th district

Finally, I am including a tribute to one of the heroes of the movement in the quest for justice. In his 80 years on this earth, he fought to make the world a better, safer place for all people. Congressman 

John Lewis ended his earthly fight of transforming injustice on July 17, 2020.

The son of sharecroppers, he survived a brutal beating by police during a landmark 1965 march in Selma, Alabama, to become a towering figure of the civil rights movement and a longtime United States congressman.

79045316-02A6-4539-8292-B95D23378948
Portrait of U.S. Representative John Lewis
by artist Carl Hess

This week I watched the many tributes and memorial services for Representative John Lewis. This morning — Sunday, July 26, 2020 — I watched him cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the last time.

From the New York Post

US Rep. John Lewis made one last trip over Edmund Pettus Bridge — where the late lawmaker and civil rights icon was beaten by police more than five decades ago during the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery.

The “conscience of Congress” — who died at age 80 on July 17 — fractured his skull during the confrontation, which became known as “Bloody Sunday.”

Lewis, who led an annual march over the bridge for the last two decades, made his “final crossing” just after 10:35 central time.

His body is set to lie in state in the Alabama State Capitol on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday’s procession is part of a six-day memorial tour that began Saturday in his hometown of Troy, Alabama and will pass through Washington, D.C. before wrapping up in Atlanta on Thursday.

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John Lewis’ crossing over the bridge this morning was not like the march of a public hero, though he was that. Instead, it was a solemn crossing, quiet and almost contemplative.

From Rev. Bernice Albertine King

What a moment to remember.
What a courageous journey in life.
What a powerful path in death.
We will miss you, but we’re grateful.
For all of your “good trouble”. . . Thank you.


From The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center

A nonviolent warrior crossing the bridge
where he met physical force with soul force.
Farewell, John Lewis.




The mourners on both sides of the street and at both ends of the bridge sang the freedom songs John Lewis had sung so many times over many years, but this time they sang them quietly in an act of respect. The words were the same:

Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on . . .

Oh freedom, oh freedom, oh freedom over me
And before I’d be a slave I’ll be buried in my grave
And go home to my Lord and be free
.”

No more weeping, no more weeping, no more weeping over me
And before I’d be a slave I’ll be buried in my grave
And go home to my Lord and be free.

Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around
Turn me around, turn me around
Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around
I’m gonna keep on a-walkin’, keep on a-talkin’
Marchin’ down to freedom land.

And, of course, this freedom song sung mournfully this morning . . .

We shall overcome, we shall overcome,
we shall overcome someday;
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe that we shall overcome someday.


“Transforming Injustice!” — The Final Words

The final words in this Transforming Injustice! Series of watercolor paintings are words sung, not spoken, sung by mourners singing mournfully and reverently as John Lewis made his final crossing over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The freedom songs they sang throughout their lives became mourning songs as they considered the death of a Civil Rights icon and all that his death might mean.


“Transforming Injustice!” — the Critical Task Before Us

I have a vision, a hope, that in the end, we will recognize that the hard work of transforming injustice enabled us to see clearly the vision of Beloved Community, and that Beloved Community finally came to be because of the transformation of hearts. In the end, we shall overcome! 

“We Shall Overcome”

The Morehouse College Glee Club performs “We Shall Overcome” arranged by Wendell P. Whalum at The 2009 Candle on the Bluff Awards.



Amen! May the God of Justice guide our overcoming.


Note: Martin Luther King popularized the notion of the “Beloved Community.” King envisioned the Beloved Community as a society based on justice, equal opportunity, and love of one’s fellow human beings. … King’s Beloved Community is a global vision in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. Jan 19, 2014.


By Renée Ater

By Renée Ater


https://www.reneeater.com/on-monuments-blog/tag/list+of+unarmed+black+people+killed+by+police

I am angry. I am anguished. I am heartbroken.

I am hallowed out.

I am sick and tired of police needlessly killing black and brown people. Some police still see black men as threats, to brutalize, to contain, to remand. They have stereotyped our grandfathers, fathers, husbands, sons, and nephews, as monsters, subject to violence and death. They have killed our grandmothers, mothers, wives, daughters, and nieces. Every time I watch the video of George Floyd’s death, my heart weeps. Who in their right mind, kneels on another human’s neck and ignores desperate pleas of “I Can’t Breathe”? Where is the humanity of these white police officers? Policing should not be predicated on brutal force and a complete disdain for black life. White supremacy has no place in the criminal justice system, in government, in the White House, in the United States. Black lives matter every second, every minute, every hour, every day.

IN MEMORIAM

The universe shrank
when you went away.
Every time I thought your name,
stars fell upon me.

— Henry Dumas (poet, social activist, teacher)

Patrick Lynn Warren Sr., October 7, 1968 – January 10, 2021
Killeen, Texas
Shot: Killeen Police Officer, January 10, 2021

Vincent “Vinny” M. Belmonte, September 14, 2001 – January 5, 2021
Cleveland, Ohio
Shot: Cleveland Police Officer, January 5, 20201

Angelo Quinto, March 10, 1990 – December 26, 2020
Antioch, California
Knee on neck/Asphyxiated: December 23, 2020

Andre Maurice Hill, May 23, 1973 – December 22, 2020
Columbus, Ohio
Shot: December 22, 2020, Columbus Police Officer

Casey Christopher Goodson Jr., January 30, 1997 – December 4, 2020
Columbus, Ohio
Shot: December 4, 2020, Franklin County Sheriff Deputy

Angelo “AJ” Crooms, May 15, 2004 – November 13, 2020
Cocoa, Florida
Shot: November 13, 2020, Brevard County Sheriff Deputies

Sincere Pierce, April 2, 2002 – November 13, 2020
Cocoa, Florida
Shot: November 13, 2020, Brevard County Sheriff Deputies

Marcellis Stinnette, June 17, 2001 – October 20, 2020
Waukegan, Illinois
Shot: October 20, 2020, Waukegan Police Officer

Jonathan Dwayne Price, November 3, 1988 – October 3, 2020
Wolfe City, Texas
Tasered/Shot: October 3, 2020, Wolfe City Police Officer

Dijon Durand Kizzee, February 5, 1991 – August 31, 2020
Los Angeles, California
Shot: August 21, 2020, Los Angeles County Police

Rayshard Brooks, January 31, 1993 – June 12, 2020
Atlanta, Georgia
Shot: June 12, 2020, Atlanta Police Officer

Carlos Carson, May 16, 1984 – June 6, 2020
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Pepper Sprayed/Shot in Head: June 6, 2020, Knights Inn Tulsa Armed Security Guard, former sergeant and detention officer with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office

David McAtee, August 3, 1966 – June 1, 2020
Louisville, Kentucky
Shot: June 1, 2020, Louisville Metropolitan Police Officer

Tony “Tony the TIger” McDade, 1982 – May 27, 2020
Tallahassee, Florida
Shot: May 27, 2020, Tallahassee Police Officers

George Perry Floyd, October 14, 1973 – May 25, 2020
Powderhorn, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Knee on neck/Asphyxiated: May 25, 2020, Minneapolis Police Officer

Dreasjon “Sean” Reed, 1999 – May 6, 2020
Indianapolis, Indiana
Shot: May 6, 2020, Unidentified Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer

Michael Brent Charles Ramos, January 1, 1978 – April 24, 2020
Austin, Texas
Shot: April 24, 2020, Austin Police Detectives

Daniel T. Prude, September 20, 1978 – March 30, 2020
Rochester, New York
Asphyxiation: March 23, 2020, Rochester Police Officers

Breonna Taylor, June 5, 1993 – March 13, 2020
Louisville, Kentucky
Shot: March 13, 2020, Louisville Metro Police Officers

Manuel “Mannie” Elijah Ellis, August 28, 1986 – March 3, 2020
Tacoma, Washington
Physical restraint/Hypoxia: March 3, 2020, Tacoma Police Officers

William Howard Green, March 16, 1976 – January 27, 2020
Temple Hills, Maryland
Shot: January 27, 2020, Prince George’s County Police Officer

John Elliot Neville, 1962 – December 4, 2019
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Asphyxiated (hog-tied in prone position)/Heart Attack/Brain Injury: December 2, 2019, Forsyth County Sheriff Officers

Atatiana Koquice Jefferson, November 28, 1990 – October 12, 2019
Fort Worth, Texas
Shot: October 12, 2019, Fort Worth Police Officer

Elijah McClain, February 25, 1996 – August 30, 2019
Aurora, Colorado
Chokehold/Ketamine/Heart Attack: August 24, 2019, Aurora Police Officers and Paramedic

Ronald Greene, September 28, 1969 – May 10, 2019
Monroe, Louisiana
Stun gun/Force: May 10, 2019, Louisiana State Police

Javier Ambler, October 7, 1978 – March 28, 2019
Austin, Texas
Tasered/Electrocuted: March 28, 2019, Williamson County Sheriff Deputy

Sterling Lapree Higgins, October 27, 1981 – March 25, 2019
Union City, Tennessee
Choke hold/Asphyxiation: March 24-25, 2019, Union City Police Officer and Obion County Sheriff Deputies

Gregory Lloyd Edwards, September 23, 1980 – December 10, 2018
Brevard County Jail, Cocoa, Florida
Kneed, Punched, Pepper Sprayed, Tasered, and Strapped into a restraint chair with a spit hood over his head/Failure to Provide Medical Care: December 9, 2019, Brevard County Sheriffs

Emantic “EJ” Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., June 18, 1997 – November 22, 2018
Hoover, Alabama
Shot: November 22, 2018, Unidentified Hoover Police Officers

Charles “Chop” Roundtree Jr., September 5, 2000 – October 17, 2018
San Antonio, Texas
Shot: October 17, 2018, San Antonio Police Officer

Chinedu Okobi, February 13, 1982 – October 3, 2018
Millbrae, California
Tasered/Electrocuted: October 3, 2018, San Mateo County Sheriff Sergeant and Sheriff Deputies

Anton Milbert LaRue Black, October 18, 1998 – September 15, 2018
Greensboro, Maryland
Tasered/Sudden Cardiac Arrest: September 15, 2018, Greensboro Police Officers

Botham Shem Jean, September 29, 1991 – September 6, 2018
Dallas, Texas
Shot: September 6, 2018, Dallas Police Officer

Antwon Rose Jr., July 12, 2000 – June 19, 2018
East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Shot: June 19, 2018, East Pittsburgh Police Officer

Saheed Vassell, December 22, 1983 – April 4, 2018
Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Shot: April 4, 2018, Four Unnamed New York City Police Officers

Stephon Alonzo Clark, August 10, 1995 – March 18, 2018
Sacramento, California
Shot: March 18, 2018, Sacramento Police Officers

Dennis Plowden Jr., 1992 – December 28, 2017
East Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Shot: December 27, 2017, Philadelphia Police Officer

Bijan Ghaisar, September 4, 1992 – November 27, 2017
George Washington Memorial Parkway, Alexandria, Virginia
Shot: November 17, 2017, U.S. Park Police Officers

Aaron Bailey, 1972 – June 29, 2017
Indianapolis, Indiana
Shot: June 29, 2017, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officers

Charleena Chavon Lyles, April 24, 1987 – June 18, 2017
Seattle, Washington
Shot: June 18, 2017, Seattle Police Officers

Fetus of Charleena Chavon Lyles (14-15 weeks), June 18, 2017
Seattle, Washington
Shot: June 18, 2017, Seattle Police Officers

Jordan Edwards, October 25, 2001 – April 29, 2017
Balch Springs, Texas
Shot: April 29, 2017, Balch Springs Officer

Chad Robertson, 1992 – February 15, 2017
Chicago, Illinois
Shot: February 8, 2017, Chicago Police Officer

Deborah Danner, September 25, 1950 – October 18, 2016
The Bronx, New York City, New York
Shot: October 18, 2016, New York City Police Officers

Alfred Olango, July 29, 1978 – September 27, 2016
El Cajon, California
Shot: September 27, 2016, El Cajon Police Officers

Terence Crutcher, August 16, 1976 – September 16, 2016
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Shot: September 16, 2016, Tulsa Police Officer

Terrence LeDell Sterling, July 31, 1985 – September 11, 2016
Washington, DC
Shot: September 11, 2016, Washington Metropolitan Police Officer

Korryn Gaines, August 24, 1993 – August 1, 2016
Randallstown, Maryland
Shot: August 1, 2016, Baltimore County Police

Joseph Curtis Mann, 1966 – July 11, 2016
Sacramento, California
Shot: July 11, 2016, Sacramento Police Officers

Philando Castile, July 16, 1983 – July 6, 2016
Falcon Heights, Minnesota
Shot: July 6, 2016, St. Anthony Police Officer

Alton Sterling, June 14, 1979 – July 5, 2016
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Shot: July 5, 2016, Baton Rouge Police Officers

Bettie “Betty Boo” Jones, 1960 – December 26, 2015
Chicago, Illinois
Shot: December 26, 2015, Chicago Police Officer

Quintonio LeGrier, April 29, 1996 – December 26, 2015
Chicago, Illinois
Shot: December 26, 2015, Chicago Police Officer

Corey Lamar Jones, February 3, 1984 – October 18, 2015
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
Shot: October 18, 2015, Palm Beach Gardens Police Officer

Jamar O’Neal Clark, May 3, 1991 – November 16, 2015
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Shot: November 15, 2015, Minneapolis Police Officers

Jeremy “Bam Bam” McDole, 1987 – September 23, 2015
Wilmington, Delaware
Shot: September 23, 2015, Wilmington Police Officers

India Kager, June 9, 1988 – September 5, 2015
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Shot: September 5, 2015, Virginia Beach Police Officers

Samuel Vincent DuBose, March 12, 1972 – July 19, 2015
Cincinnati, Ohio
Shot: July 19, 2015, University of Cincinnati Police Officer

Sandra Bland, February 7, 1987 – July 13, 2015
Waller County, Texas
Excessive Force/Wrongful Death/Suicide (?): July 10, 2015, Texas State Trooper

Brendon K. Glenn, 1986 – May 5, 2015
Venice, California
Shot: May 5, 2015, Los Angeles Police Officer

Freddie Carlos Gray Jr., August 16, 1989 – April 19, 2015
Baltimore, Maryland
Brute Force/Spinal Injuries: April 12, 2015, Baltimore City Police Officers

Walter Lamar Scott, February 9, 1965 – April 4, 2015
North Charleston, South Carolina
Shot: April 4, 2015, North Charleston Police Officer

Eric Courtney Harris, October 10, 1971 – April 2, 2015
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Shot: April 2, 2015, Tulsa County Reserve Deputy

Phillip Gregory White, 1982 – March 31, 2015
Vineland, New Jersey
K-9 Mauling/Respiratory distress: March 31, 2015, Vineland Police Officers

Mya Shawatza Hall, December 5, 1987 – March 30, 2015
Fort Meade, Maryland
Shot: March 30, 2015, National Security Agency Police Officers

Meagan Hockaday, August 27, 1988 – March 28, 2015
Oxnard, California
Shot: March 28, 2015, Oxnard Police Officer

Tony Terrell Robinson, Jr., October 18, 1995 – March 6, 2015
Madison, Wisconsin
Shot: March 6, 2015, Madison Police Officer

Janisha Fonville, March 3, 1994 – February 18 2015
Charlotte, North Carolina
Shot: February 18, 2015, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer

Natasha McKenna, January 9, 1978 – February 8, 2015
Fairfax County, Virginia
Tasered/Cardiac Arrest: February 3, 2015, Fairfax County Sheriff Deputies

Jerame C. Reid, June 8, 1978 – December 30, 2014
Bridgeton, New Jersey
Shot: December 30, 2014, Bridgeton Police Officer

Rumain Brisbon, November 24, 1980 – December 2, 2014
Phoenix, Arizona
Shot: December 2, 2014, Phoenix Police Officer

Tamir Rice, June 15, 2002 – November 22, 2014
Cleveland, Ohio
Shot: November 22, 2014, Cleveland Police Officer

Akai Kareem Gurley, November 12, 1986 – November 20, 2014
Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Shot: November 20, 2014, New York City Police Officer

Tanisha N. Anderson, January 22, 1977 – November 13, 2014
Cleveland, Ohio
Physically Restrained/Brute Force: November 13, 2014, Cleveland Police Officers

Dante Parker, August 14, 1977 – August 12, 2014
Victorville, California
Tasered/Excessive Force: August 12, 2014, San Bernardino County Sheriff Deputies

Ezell Ford, October 14, 1988 – August 11, 2014
Florence, Los Angeles, California
Shot: August 11, 2014, Los Angeles Police Officers

Michael Brown Jr., May 20, 1996 – August 9, 2014
Ferguson, Missouri
Shot: August 9, 2014, Ferguson Police Officer

John Crawford III, July 29, 1992 – August 5, 2014
Beavercreek, Ohio
Shot: August 5, 2014, Beavercreek Police Officer

Tyree Woodson, July 8, 1976 – August 2, 2014
Baltimore, Maryland
Shot: August 2, 2014, Baltimore City Police Officer

Eric Garner, September 15, 1970 – July 17, 2014
Staten Island, New York
Choke hold/Suffocated: July 17, 2014, New York City Police Officer

Dontre Hamilton, January 20, 1983 – April 30, 2014
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Shot: April 30, 2014, Milwaukee Police Officer

Victor White III, September 11, 1991 – March 3, 2014
New Iberia, Louisiana
Shot: March 2, 2014, Iberia Parish Sheriff Deputy

Gabriella Monique Nevarez, November 25, 1991 – March 2, 2014
Citrus Heights, California
Shot: March 2, 2014, Citrus Heights Police Officers

Yvette Smith, December 18, 1966 – February 16, 2014
Bastrop County, Texas
Shot: February 16, 2014, Bastrop County Sheriff Deputy

McKenzie J. Cochran, August 25, 1988 – January 29, 2014
Southfield, Michigan
Pepper Sprayed/Compression Asphyxiation: January 28, 2014, Northland Mall Security Guards

Jordan Baker, 1988 – January 16, 2014
Houston, Texas
Shot: January 16, 2014, Off-duty Houston Police Officer

Andy Lopez, June 2, 2000 – October 22, 2013
Santa Rosa, California
Shot: October 22, 2013, Sonoma County Sheriff Deputy

Miriam Iris Carey, August 12, 1979 – October 3, 2013
Washington, DC
Shot 26 times: October 3, 2013, U. S. Secret Service Officer

Barrington “BJ” Williams, 1988 – September 17, 2013
New York City, New York
Neglect/Disdain/Asthma Attack: September 17, 2013, New York City Police Officers

Jonathan Ferrell, October 11, 1989 – September 14, 2013
Charlotte, North Carolina
Shot: September 14, 2013, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer

Carlos Alcis, 1970 – August 15, 2013
Brooklyn, New York City
Heart Attack/Neglect: August 15, 2013, New York City Police Officers

Larry Eugene Jackson Jr., November 29, 1980 – July 26, 2013
Austin, Texas
Shot: July 26, 2013, Austin Police Detective

Kyam Livingston, July 29, 1975 – July 21, 2013
New York City, New York
Neglect/Ignored pleas for help: July 20-21, 2013, New York City Police Officers

Clinton R. Allen, September 26, 1987 – March 10, 2013
Dallas, Texas
Tasered and Shot: March 10, 2013, Dallas Police Officer

Kimani “KiKi” Gray, October 19, 1996 – March 9, 2013
Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Shot: March 9, 2013, New York Police Officers

Kayla Moore, April 17, 1971 – February 13, 2013
Berkeley, California
Restrained face-down prone: February 12, 2013, Berkeley Police Officers

Jamaal Moore Sr., 1989 – December 15, 2012
Chicago, Illinois
Shot: December 15, 2012, Chicago Police Officer

Johnnie Kamahi Warren, February 26, 1968 – February 13, 2012
Dothan, Alabama
Tasered/Electrocuted: December 10, 2012, Houston County (AL) Sheriff Deputy

Shelly Marie Frey, April 21, 1985 – December 6, 2012
Houston, Texas
Shot: December 6, 2012, Off-duty Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy

Darnisha Diana Harris, December 11, 1996 – December 2, 2012
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Shot: December 2, 2012, Breaux Bridge Police Office

Timothy Russell, December 9. 1968 – November 29, 2012
Cleveland, Ohio
137 Rounds/Shot 23 times: November 29, 2012, Cleveland Police Officers

Malissa Williams, June 20, 1982 – November 29, 2012
Cleveland, Ohio
137 Rounds/Shot 24 times: November 29, 2012, Cleveland Police Officers

Noel Palanco, November 28, 1989 – October 4, 2012
Queens, New York City, New York
Shot: October 4, 2012, New York City Police Officers

Reynaldo Cuevas, January 6, 1992 – September 7, 2012
Bronx, New York City, New York
Shot: September 7, 2012, New York City Police Officer

Chavis Carter, 1991 – July 28, 2012
Jonesboro, Arkansas
Shot: July 28, 2012, Jonesboro Police Officer

Alesia Thomas, June 1, 1977 – July 22, 2012
Los Angeles, California
Brutal Force/Beaten: July 22, 2012, Los Angeles Police Officers

Shantel Davis, May 26, 1989 – June 14, 2012
New York City, New York
Shot: June 14, 2012, New York City Police Officer

Sharmel T. Edwards, October 10, 1962 – April 21, 2012
Las Vegas, Nevada
Shot: April 21, 2012, Las Vegas Police Officers

Tamon Robinson, December 21, 1985 – April 18, 2012
Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Run over by police car: April 12, 2012, New York City Police Officers

Ervin Lee Jefferson, III, 1994 – March 24, 2012
Atlanta, Georgia
Shot: March 24, 2012, Shepperson Security & Escort Services Security Guards

Kendrec McDade, May 5, 1992 – March 24, 2012
Pasadena, California
Shot: March 24, 2012, Pasadena Police Officers

Rekia Boyd, November 5, 1989 – March 21, 2012
Chicago, Illinois
Shot: March 21, 2012, Off-duty Chicago Police Detective

Shereese Francis, 1982 – March 15, 2012
Queens, New York City, New York
Suffocated to death: March 15, 2012, New York City Police Officers

Jersey K. Green, June 17, 1974 – March 12, 2012
Aurora, Illinois
Tasered/Electrocuted: March 12, 2012, Aurora Police Officers

Wendell James Allen, December 19, 1991 – March 7, 2012
New Orleans, Louisiana
Shot: March 7, 2012, New Orleans Police Officer

Nehemiah Lazar Dillard, July 29, 1982 – March 5, 2012
Gainesville, Florida
Tasered/Electrocuted: March 5, 2012, Alachua County Sheriff Deputies

Dante’ Lamar Price, July 18, 1986 – March 1, 2012
Dayton, Ohio
Shot: March 1, 2012, Ranger Security Guards

Raymond Luther Allen Jr., 1978 – February 29, 2012
Galveston, Texas
Tasered/Electrocuted: February 27, 2012, Galveston Police Officers

Manual Levi Loggins Jr., February 22, 1980 – February 7, 2012
San Clemente, Orange County, California
Shot: February 7, 2012, Orange County Sheriff Deputy

Ramarley Graham, April 12, 1993 – February 2, 2012
The Bronx, New York City, New York
Shot: February 2, 2012, New York City Police Officer

Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., April 12, 1943 – November 19, 2011
White Plains, New York
Tasered/Electrocuted/Shot: November 19, 2011, White Plains Police Officers

Alonzo Ashley, June 10, 1982 – July 18, 2011
Denver, Colorado
Tasered/Electrocuted: July 18, 2011, Denver Police Officers

Derek Williams, January 23, 1989 – July 6, 2011
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Blunt Force/Respiratory distress: July 6, 2011, Milwaukee Police Officers

Raheim Brown, Jr., March 4, 1990 – January 22, 2011
Oakland, California
Shot: January 22, 2011, Oakland Unified School District Police

Reginald Doucet, June 3, 1985 – January 14, 2011
Los Angeles, California
Shot: January 14, 2011, Los Angeles Police Officer

Derrick Jones, September 30, 1973 – November 8, 2010
Oakland, California
Shot: November 8, 2010, Oakland Police Officers

Danroy “DJ” Henry Jr., October 29, 1990 – October 17, 2010
Pleasantville, New York
Shot: October 17, 2020, Pleasantville Police Officer

Aiyana Mo’Nay Stanley-Jones, July 20, 2002 – May 16, 2010
Detroit, Michigan
Shot: May 16, 2010, Detroit Police Officer

Steven Eugene Washington, September 20, 1982 – March 20, 2010
Los Angeles, California
Shot: March 20, 2010, Los Angeles County Police

Aaron Campbell, September 7, 1984 – January 29, 2010
Portland, Oregon
Shot: January 29, 2010, Portland Police Officer

Kiwane Carrington, July 14, 1994 – October 9, 2009
Champaign, Illinois
Shot: October 9, 2019, Champaign Police Officer

Victor Steen, November 11, 1991 – October 3, 2009
Pensacola, Florida
Tasered/Run over: October 3, 2009, Pensacola Police Officer

Shem Walker, March 18, 1960 – July 11, 2009
Brooklyn, New York
Shot: July 11, 2009, New York City Undercover C-94 Police Officer

Oscar Grant III, February 27, 1986 – January 1, 2009
Oakland, California
Shot: January 1, 2009, BART Police Officer

Tarika Wilson, October 30, 1981 – January 4, 2008
Lima, Ohio
Shot January 4, 2008, Lima Police Officer

DeAunta Terrel Farrow, September 7, 1994 – June 22, 2007
West Memphis, Arkansas
Shot: June 22, 2007, West Memphis (AR) Police Officer

Sean Bell, May 23, 1983 – November 25, 2006
Queens, New York City, New York
Shot: November 25, 2006, New York City Police Officers

Kathryn Johnston, June 26, 1914 – November 21, 2006
Atlanta, Georgia
Shot: November 21, 2006, Undercover Atlanta Police Officers

Ronald Curtis Madison, March 1, 1965 – September 4, 2005
Danziger Bridge, New Orleans, Louisiana
Shot: September 4, 2005, New Orleans Police Officers

James B. Brissette Jr., November 6, 1987 – September 4, 2005
Danziger Bridge, New Orleans, Louisiana
Shot: September 4, 2005, New Orleans Police Officers

Henry “Ace” Glover, October 2, 1973 – September 2, 2005
New Orleans, Louisiana
Shot: September 2, 2005, New Orleans Police Officers

Timothy Stansbury, Jr., November 16, 1984 – January 24, 2004
Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Shot: January 24, 2004, New York City Police Officer

Ousmane Zongo, 1960 – May 22, 2003
New York City, New York
Shot: May 22, 2003, New York City Police Officer

Alberta Spruill, 1946 – May 16, 2003
New York City, New York
Stun grenade thrown into her apartment led to a heart attack: May 16, 2003, New York City Police Officer

Kendra Sarie James, December 24, 1981 – May 5, 2003
Portland, Oregon
Shot: May 5, 2003, Portland Police Officer

Orlando Barlow, December 29, 1974 – February 28, 2003
Las Vegas, Nevada
Shot: February 28, 2003, Las Vegas Police Officer

Nelson Martinez Mendez, 1977 – August 8, 2001
Bellevue, Washington
Shot: August 8, 2001, Bellevue Police Officer

Timothy DeWayne Thomas Jr., July 25, 1981 – April 7, 2001
Cincinnati, Ohio
Shot: April 7, 2001, Cincinnati Police Patrolman

Ronald Beasley, 1964 – June 12, 2000
Dellwood, Missouri
Shot: June 12, 2000, Dellwood Police Officers

Earl Murray, 1964 – June 12, 2000
Dellwood, Missouri
Shot: June 12, 2000, Dellwood Police Officers

Patrick Moses Dorismond, February 28, 1974 – March 16, 2000
New York City, New York
Shot: March 16, 2000, New York City Police Officer

Prince Carmen Jones Jr., March 30, 1975 – September 1, 2000
Fairfax County, Virginia
Shot: September 1, 2000, Prince George’s County Police Officer

Malcolm Ferguson, October 31, 1976 – March 1, 2000
The Bronx, New York City, New York
Shot: March 1, 2000, New York City Police Officer

LaTanya Haggerty, 1973 – June 4, 1999
Chicago, Illinois
Shot: June 4, 1999, Chicago Police Officer

Margaret LaVerne Mitchell, 1945 – May 21, 1999
Los Angeles, California
Shot: May 21, 1999, Los Angeles Police Officer

Amadou Diallo, September 2, 1975 – February 4, 1999
The Bronx, New York City, New York
Shot: February 4, 1999, New York City Police Officers

Tyisha Shenee Miller, March 9, 1979 – December 28, 1998
Riverside, California
Shot: December 28, 1998, Riverside Police Officers

Dannette “Strawberry” Daniels, January 25, 1966 – June 7, 1997
Newark, New Jersey
Shot: June 7, 1997, Newark Police Officer

Frankie Ann Perkins, 1960 – March 22, 1997
Chicago, Illinois
Brutal Force/Strangled: March 22, 1997, Chicago Police Officers

Nicholas Heyward Jr., August 26, 1981 – September 27, 1994
Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Shot: September 27, 1994, New York City Police Officer

Mary Mitchell, 1950 – November 3, 1991
The Bronx, New York City, New York
Shot: November 3, 1991, New York City Police Officer

Yvonne Smallwood, July 26, 1959 – December 9, 1987
New York City, New York
Severely beaten/Massive blood clot: December 3, New York City Police Officers

Eleanor Bumpers, August 22, 1918 – October 29, 1984
The Bronx, New York City, New York
Shot: October 29, 1984, New York City Police Officer

Michael Jerome Stewart, May 9, 1958 – September 28, 1983
New York City, New York
Brutal Force: September 15, 1983, New York City Transit Police

Eula Mae Love, August 8, 1939 – January 3, 1979
Los Angeles, California
Shot: January 3, 1979, Los Angeles County Police Officers

Arthur Miller Jr., 1943 – June 14, 1978
Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Chokehold/Strangled: June 14, 1978, New York City Police Officers

Randolph Evans, April 5, 1961 – November 25, 1976
Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Shot in head: November 25, 1976, New York City Police Officer

Barry Gene Evans, August 29, 1958 – February 10, 1976
Los Angeles, California
Shot: February 10, 1976, Los Angeles Police Officers

Rita Lloyd, November 2, 1956 – January 27, 1973
New York City, New York
Shot: January 27, 1973, New York City Police Officer

Henry Dumas, July 20, 1934 – May 23, 1968
Harlem, New York City, New York
Shot: May 23, 1968, New York City Transit Police Officer

*************************************************

NOTE

This memorial is in honor of those unarmed black and brown people killed by the police, sheriff deputies, and security guards. The list is organized by most recent incident of police brutality (David McAtee and George Perry Floyd) and then moves back in time. I have listed each person by their name; birth and death dates; the location of their death; the means of death, date of death, and name of the police department.

I culled the names from a variety of online sources including Black Lives Matter’s protests; Wikipedia; Black Past; Dangerous Objects, a website run by Mercy Garriga, that investigates cases of excessive use of force and death by the police force; and Professors Cassandra Chaney and Ray V. Robertson’s essay “Armed and Dangerous? An Examination of Fatal Shootings of Unarmed Black People by Police.” I have included women from the #SaveHerName project because we often ignore the injustices and violence that black women experience from the police: police brutality is real for women as it is for men.

At the age of twenty-four, a friend introduced me to the radical and astonishingly beautiful poetry and writing of Henry Dumas. His poetry serves as the epitaph for this memorial; Dumas is the last entry on this list, shot by New York City Transit Police on May 23, 1968.

— Renée Ater, May 29, 2020

List above was updated on March 2, 2021.

**Many thanks to Cecilia Wichmann and Mary Savig for their fact checking of this list, including adding birth dates from the Social Security Death Index and links to additional news stories.