Over the last few weeks, word of the attack on Jussie Smollett has hit the news. We know Jussie from his activist work to uplift Black communities and Queer communities. We were and are saddened to hear physical violence has visited our brother.
Since the news broke out, the Chicago police department has been leaking information to the corporate media that has led many to conclude Jussie staged his own attack. Regardless of what all the final facts bear out, we would like to underscore that Black queer folks face violence and hate crimes regularly, and all instances of violence against Black queer folks should be taken seriously. Additionally, we would like to note the following:
- We know with absolute certainty that the Chicago Police Department is notoriously known for being one of the most mendacious and murderous police departments in the United States. This is the department that murdered the 21 years old Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, Fred Hampton, with his 8 months pregnant partner next to him in bed. This is the department that had a torture facility in the middle of Chicago where their cops would torture people into false confessions in order to convict people from our communities. This is a department that murdered Laquan McDonald and countless other Black men and women and lied about it for years. The litany of examples about the dishonest and murderous record of the Chicago Police Department is endless. Therefore, we believe nothing that comes from the Chicago Police Department, be it directly or through leaks to the corporate media.
- We believe it is a real shame that this story has dominated the corporate media at a time when the material conditions of Black people everywhere is worsening. At a time when the Vallejo police department just murdered a Black man who was sleeping in his car, a racist San Francisco cop has just been charged with a second bank robbery while suspended without pay for sending racist text messages to other cops, a full on imperialist coup backed by the CIA is happening in Venezuela against the democratically elected President Maduro (much like the CIA has done all over Latin America and Africa since the early 1950s), and political prisoners are still languishing in prisons throughout this country, it is typical of the corporate media to deliberately ignore all these issues from the coverage they deserve and elevate unconfirmed theories based on “sources” from a notoriously dishonest police department.
- We urge everyone, especially Black people with a platform, to refrain from jumping to conclusions until all the facts are known, and definitely from jumping to conclusions based on information given to us by the police and corporate media, neither of whom are friends to Black people.
The Afrikan Black Coalition wishes brother Jussie healing and peace.