Today, May 20th, would have been Michael Brown‘s 19th birthday. It should have been Michael Brown’s 19th birthday. The unarmed victim of deadly police violence, Brown’s death still hangs heavy over our nation. And his is not the only one. From Eric Garner to Tamir Rice to Freddie Gray to Kimani Gray to Trayvon Martin, dozens of unarmed, uncharged black citizens have been lost in recent months to the quick trigger finger of an officer–the tragic punctuation marks on a story of racial bias that has been America’s story since its birth.
And so today is a day to once again stop and recall the stark necessity of Black Lives Matter. To recall that there’s a family in Ferguson, Missouri that ought to be unwrapping presents and blowing out candles. In a display of the sorrow, rage and determination that America’s black communities have come to a know, a new short video from Tribeca Films, directed by Wade Hudson, offers us a list: names upon names of the fallen. Poet D’bi Young reads off the names–Brown’s included–as violinist Andrew Forde plays with a fervency that climbs towards the heavens–until it all ends in a gunshot. Headlines and tears.
How could one possibly sing a proper elegy for all of the black lives that have been taken, not by old age or disease or accident, but by those sworn to serve and protect? This, it seems, is at least a start. Watch.