Just a few weeks ago, Jordan Edwards was fatally shot by Texas police officer Roy Oliver. In the past 48 hours, 50,000 people have signed our joint petition with Color Of Change in support of assigning a special independent prosecutor to his case. We’ve been here before. But, we know what justice looks like and with the help of each one of you, we can pressure justice into action.
Jordan’s family has remained strong, steadfast, and relentless in their pursuit of justice. And while a special prosecutor can help provide a more thorough investigation, this is not the family’s only route to justice. In addition, they have also filed a wrongful death suit against the Balch Springs Police Department for “failing to supervise and properly discipline” the cop responsible for Jordan’s death – even after multiple instances of “brash behavior.” But they’re not stopping there; the family is also calling for an investigation that includes the following:
Identify and prosecute officers other than Roy Oliver that interacted with Vidal Allen and the other three boys riding in the car if any criminal misconduct is found
Release to the press and public all video evidenced sourced through the investigation, including body camera video in the case that has been generated by the Balch Springs Police Department and identified by the Dallas County Sheriff
Support the release of all disciplinary records and complaints lodged against Roy Oliver during his employment with the Balch Springs Police Department
Request an investigation of unequal and discriminatory policing in Balch Springs by the U.S. Department of Justice
While this may be the first instance of this gravity experienced by Jordan’s family, collectively, we all share their pain. After all, we, as Black people, have a long history of dealing with trauma. But if there is one thing we know how to do, it is to bounce back. We channel our anger and frustration into actionable steps for optimistic change. We never back down and we find light even when all we see is darkness.
Our resiliency allows us to incite social change even in the most trying times. Since Ferguson and the death of Mike Brown, we’ve seen greater awareness about the pressing issues that plague so many of our communities. We’re more informed and we’re collectively unified. And now, we must continue to combat the social ills and injustices that plague our society.
The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement exemplifies how our collective resiliency transforms into calculated and impactful action. Through BLM, we’ve marched, protested, advocated to state and federal legislative bodies, been the headlines of international news, and galvanized support across racial and ethnic lines. We’ve collectively envisioned, changed, and worked to promote better public policies and more impactful organizations. We’ve collectively shouted our truths – and we will continue to shout and demand change.
Our shouts are not in vain, as our voices are being heard. Social media has leveled the playing field, allowing us to not only connect with one another but to broadcast to the masses the truth as witnessed right before our eyes. Black Twitter has birthed both humor and humility – serving as a refuge for collective laughter and a source for the news and perspectives we so desperately need to hear. We’ve manifested a space for unfiltered Black perspectives on the world – we’ve hosted conversations that rarely exist in mainstream media, but penetrate it by the day.
Here at PushBlack, we are encouraged by all the efforts to bring justice for Jordan Edwards and his family. As this case unfolds, it is imperative that we stay engaged, informed, and continue to demand reform. While Roy Oliver’s arrest is the first step towards justice, his murder conviction will signal a necessary shift towards holding our law enforcement accountable for their actions.
But remember, dealing with these heavy issues on a regular basis is draining, so it is imperative that we prioritize our self-care. Black mental health matters. No one is expected to be strong all the time and that may mean at some point we just need to disconnect and decompress.
Be as involved as you can, but remember we do not all have to be on-the-ground activists. In the words of Malcolm X, do your “best work.” In whatever it is that you do, do your best for the betterment of Black people. Attending town halls and sending letters to Congress may be the actions for some, while reading and sharing news articles or reflecting with friends and family may be the route for others. Every little bit counts.
We remain optimistic about the work of our Black communities in pushing forward for justice and change, and we hope you will too. We believe in cultivating a supportive network of allies who understand that Unity of the people can bring down any system. Let’s do this together. Click here to sign the petition in support of the Edwards family’s demands.