I have no tongue. No voice. It was stolen from me along with the freedom I used to have. A month ago I lived a life some would call dull but I loved every moment of it. I lived in a two bedroom apartment with my dog, Shango on the east side of town. No boyfriend…or girlfriend and my family lived just an hour’s drive away.
I worked as a 10 grade English teacher at Antebellum High School. Teens were a hassle but I loved my job. On the weekends I’d run the Whisper Trail up the side of the mountain and every Thursday night I went out to blow off some steam with the grown & sexy crew at The Crow off James Street. My weeks were repetitive but I didn’t mind it.
It wasn’t until I started a blog that everything changed. It was a simple blog inspired by a few of my classmates from college. Ashleigh had a celebrity fashion blog and Adante had a contemporary philosophy blog so, shit, why not start a blog too? It took me a minute to find out what I was going to write about but once it came to me, nothing could stop me!
My blog was called Politicide by Sai Arnold, “A Political Blog for The Dead.” Yeah, dark, I know but I wanted it to have just enough edge. I didn’t mean…originally…for it to stand-out so much. After its second week of life I found myself writing about the deaths of some high profile activists from the past 5 years that I found “mildly” (read: extremely) suspicious.
I wrote their names almost daily. Reciting them to memory. “Caroline Czar, Owen Blake, Vince Hue, Shawn Kingly, Brittney Neely, Naomi Carr, Sol Lake & Nikki Lu.” Almost every piece that I wrote tied back to one of these 8 activists. It wasn’t intentional, though. I’d write about poverty and up came Brittney Neely. I’d write about womanism and my readers would read about Nikki Lu. I’d pen a thought about queer oppression and Owen Blake became the topic. No matter what I talked about or wrote opinions on, everything lead back to these 8.
One day I got an email from a Mr. Kevin K. Kemp, a wealthy man who backed many different politicians– Bernadette Dodgson, far left, Carlos Jimenez, far right, Vivica Powell, Independent, etc. He expressed in the beginning of his email a love for my writing style and a fascination with my content. However, towards the end, the tone shifted drastically.
“It’d be unpatriotic of me to not deliver this word of advice: stop.”
As I read on he expressed that my “lies” were dangerous and that whichever community I claimed to belong to would be “at risk” to associate with me. I was terrified so I printed off the email and showed the local police. I didn’t trust them much, as I wrote in Politicide once or twice but that was a general distrust. I had no reason to distrust these officers as I lived in a city with a good rapport with authority. But the moment they read who the message was from they turned me away. Told me to “don’t be a troublemaker” like I was some 7 year old kid.
I posted the email as my next blog post after having not received an message back from Mr. Kemp after I responded with a “strongly worded” (read: I cursed him clear the fuck out) reply. The email went viral within hours which brought ridiculous amounts of attention to my blog. I was getting comment after comment on almost all of my posts. Half of them were approving but the other half were death threats and rape threats from racist sexist nobodies. I guessed I made it to internet fame at that point.
I decided I’d write one more post before taking a short break and attempted to get back to grading a stack of papers that I had been neglecting for a weekend. I wanted to make the post about freedom of speech and “How Only The Privileged Are Allowed Voices.” Of course, the post was about the 8 activist. By that time, I had gotten use to it.
I started with Shawn Kingly, political commentator:
…He had a mouth on him, ‘that uppity negro,’ he spoke only as much as he breathed…
And then Brittney Neely, advocate for the homeless:
…And when she had no more food to give she provided what else she could with glee…
I moved on to Sol Lake, Asian-American community/social media activist:
…Her education and parents gave her many tools to win…
Owen Blake, gay rights activist:
…They found him just a mile away in enough blood to swim…
Nikki Lu, mixed queer feminist:
…Classified as a common rape, ‘a dick for a dyke’ they jest…
Vince Hue, 99 percenter:
…He had about 3 kids, a wife, and up to 19 bullets in his chest…
Naomi Carr, Black Nationalist & Pan-Africanist:
…A professor with a lot to give and many lives to save…
And finally Caroline Czar, children’s advocate:
…Her voice had gone missing, all the while, silenced like a slave.
I never expected to join their ranks. Or have other bloggers write about my injustice as I wrote about theirs. But just as soon as I hit “publish” I found myself writing a letter from my prison cell. I had unitentionally wrote the closing line to the dark ballad I had pieced together just before my arrest:
You may ask what I did to end up with such a fate,
I spoke of only truth and righteousness until it was too late.