Once again with a sense of reoccurring irony the attention of the nation and world are attuned to the great state of Georgia. This time the attention is focused on the city of Valdosta and the horrific death of high school student Kendrick Johnson and surrounding events. The Death of Kendrick Johnson has been ruled accidental however other events create a serious dichotomy that paints a very different and disturbing picture. Since his terrible death his family has been on a tedious quest seeking truth and justice.
The facts remain that Mr. Johnson was found dead in the school gym beneath bleachers, conveniently wrapped in a wrestling mat. Secondly, portions of surveillance camera footage mysteriously disappeared. Third, bodily fluid was found in the general area of his body. And last, to add insult to injury his family had to learn in an independent autopsy that his internal organs were missing only to be replaced by old newspaper! In addition to the aforementioned there are a number of other inconsistencies that causes one to pause and ask questions that deserve resolution. While I am not a conspiracy theorist please don’t insult my intelligence by hitting me in the head with an acorn and try to convince me the sky is falling! As the adage goes, “something in the milk just ain’t clean!
In my opinion our community at large should be outraged to say the least by the lack of dignity, respect and attention that is being given to this case. It is just another example of the lack of value that continues to be placed on the lives of African-Americans. As unfortunate as it is Mr. Johnson now joins the ranks of countless others both known and unknown who have met their fate in a similar situation.
I assert that these situations of indignation cannot be allowed to continually be ignored. In the final analysis the city of Valdosta, Georgia is just a microcosm of a larger problem in our society. This case in particular is indicative of the value I think that is placed on the lives and existence of African-Americans. I am inclined to agree with Hubert Humphrey who maintained that, the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children: those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly: and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”
The Reverend Douglas Demetrius Prather, a noted social justice and civil rights activist is the Senior Pastor of the Greater Mountain Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia