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EJ Bradford Mall Shooting: How do we get past this storm?



This is an opinion column

The Reverend talked about storms.

Rev. Jesse Jackson – and, Lord knows, he saw a few – stood on stage on a wet, drizzly Saturday morning in the Boutwell Auditorium, summoning the storm, Nat King Cole, the late singer whom the Ku Klux Klan had beaten , exposed he entered 1956 in this room.

He recalled the familiar storms of Birmingham's turbulent past and the recent violence against African Americans nationwide, often-but not always-through the police.

The One Storm that has brought the aging civil rights leader to Birmingham has hovered over our heads for ten days since Thanksgiving. Jackson held the eulogy for Emantic "EJ" Bradford, Jr., a 21

-year-old African American who was killed that night in the midst of a chaotic episode of a contest that had shot off at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover Mall.

"Storms," ​​he said, "come suddenly."

That was certainly the case and it is not likely to disappear soon.

Maybe not even when we finally see what happened that night when we can all see the video in the clutches of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency overseeing the shootings investigation.

Jackson speaks – unusually – from a prepared text out a "comprehensive and thorough" investigation.

"We want to see the tapes now," he said.

The Night Nat King Cole Was Beaten on a Stage in Birmingham

Jackson's voice is just the last voice calling for the release of the video. E.J. Bradford's family wants to see it. Activists and their tireless, croaking supporters want to see it. I want to see it. They want to see it.

Is there anyone in Jefferson County who does not want to see what's in this video?

Here's the thing: Are we all ready to see what's on the video? Are we ready – no matter what we experienced during the deadly encounter – to accept what we see, or will we just open our eyes to what our hearts want to see?

We'll get through this storm, and even likely, the storm is almost certain to follow the release of the video, which will make someone angry and disappointed, if not worse.

But we will not overcome the storm if the difficult dialogues that have to happen do not happen. [19659003] The dialogue that must take place between those responsible and the residents in Hoover regarding the continued marginalization of the city, especially with regard to education.

The dialogue that must take place with Hoover, which includes the influencers of the community and city residents, should Birmingham, ready to conduct civil talks to overcome the gap that has existed for decades between the city and its brothers exists over the mountain. Discussions about police treatment, jobs, public transport – anything around which a common connection and benefit can be found.

Also, dialogue must take place in our own African American communities with our own children and young adults – having tough conversations about the value of life. That it's worth more than a pair of sneakers, a sour relationship, or any beef that's likely to be fueled by the corruption that permeates their social media feeds and invades their veins.

Renewed visit to the funeral of the Alabama Mall shooting victim EJ Bradford

Far more.

"A decision can make a difference," said Pastor Mike McClure of Rock City Church a few days before directing the funeral. "We need to better understand the consequences of decisions.

"At the same time," he added, "the police must make better decisions. They are trained for a crisis. Police, fire and paramedics are trained to see blood and chaos. But almost every time a colored person is involved, the training goes out of the house.

It was a moving homegoing that focused primarily on a family that had to bury a son. There was real suffering, even joy and laughter over the speedbumps of Bradford's youth, which some of his longtime friends shared.

"You can not stop the faith," said the Reverend. And fate can not stop faith. Not long after that, perhaps the most moving moment of the afternoon came. The service was almost over when McClure asked every young person who wanted to give his life to Christ to stand in front of the auditorium and stand in front of the closed casket on the balcony and in a moment when it seemed to be surrounded by dozens of young ones People put out the casket and pressed so tight the surrounding velvet ropes, and some of the flowers fell over.

box; some put hands on another teenager. And they stayed there, some sang, some cried, maybe some, and they wondered what decisions they make and what the consequences are.

"Remove all negative people from your life," said McClure. "And make positive decisions.

"If we're not careful, we'll be right back.

In the middle of another fateful storm.

Rev. Jesse Jackson calls for transparency from Hoover police


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