If I Become the Next Hashtag.
It seems like every other day another person of color is mercilessly slaughtered by the people sworn to protect and serve them. I for one intend to be prepared and to make sure my legacy isn’t tarnished like so many of my siblings have been. First things first – the police officer who killed me probably said I had a weapon. You should know now that this isn’t true. I am, I mean I was, morally opposed to carrying firearms and I didn’t carry a knife, because carrying knives gets Black people killed in Austin.
The officer may have said I charged at him/her. This is also the furthest thing from the truth, anyone who knew me knew I hated running and only ran when it was absolutely necessary. I was smart, I would run away from a person armed trying to kill me, not at them – this wasn’t a Bruce Willis movie; I wasn’t trying to Die Hard.
The officer may have compared me to a demon, like Darren Wilson did with Michael Brown. Unfortunately, God didn’t make me a demon like I requested in the Fall of 1991, I was just a plain old human. No supernatural powers, besides my supernatural snark and fashion sense.
The officer probably also said they feared for their life. This is probably true. There was nothing in this world scarier than me, Jarell Wilson, first generation college student and certified candidate for ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church. I was very dangerous: armed with my Beyoncé facts. Nothing screams "kill me" quite like my award-winning smile.
The media will want to inform White America about why I deserved to be mercilessly put down like a dog. It is your job to make them look as bad as possible. I was actually a pretty decent person; well I was before I was killed. Bring up my long hours of volunteering, my work registering voters, my work with youth and children, my years of church work experience, my rescued pet Mia, my spotless criminal record, the list goes on. The media will spread a bunch of lies, it’s up to you to tell the true story, I’m dead remember – you need to defend me as my friend who is still alive.
The police will probably settle out of court with my parents, my parents may settle for something lower than I deserve – my life is worth at least $1.5 million and if they settle for less than that raise hell. Protest outside of their house, outside of their jobs, burn their cars if you need to (sorry y'all even from the grave I'll be your most expensive child).
Also, Art Acevado is a Police Chief I’ve stood up for before. If he doesn’t fire the cop(s) that killed me, run him out of town. This is a man who has let his police force get away with all sorts of nonsense – my blood should be the last straw for you.
If y’all are going to burn businesses, which I don’t recommend, but if you are going to do it, start with the big brand businesses shutting down locally owned and operated stores that boost the local economy. If you are going to destroy a pharmacy, go for Walgreens not CVS, Walgreens is worse and continually tries to avoid paying its taxes. If one of you smashes a police car, don’t listen to your parents and turn yourself in run to Mexico or Canada instead. If y’all do want to burn down schools, don’t destroy the low-income ones, the powers that be already did that, burn down those fancy overpriced ones that you need vouchers to get into. If you’re going to riot over me – spell my name correctly, J-a-r-e-l-l, one “r”.
Most of all, I want y’all to tell my story, tell the world about my laugh – I loved to laugh loudly and close my eyes and throw back my head. Tell them about how I never let a baby go past me without smiling and waving, that no dog has left my presence unloved, no crying person in my presence has left it without receiving some sort of comfort from me. I was a person dedicated to making the world safe for all, I cracked jokes, I was dedicated to creating a system where all had a voice at the table, not just the privileged. And I laughed, I smiled at strangers, and made friends with people I met in line at the grocery store, I laughed and danced and sang with passion and zeal. I gave of myself...but mostly I did a lot of laughing.
Here are the pictures I want you all to use in the TV snippets about me:
I want to be cremated and planted with a magnolia tree seedling…you can use a poplar tree instead as long as you play “Strange Fruit”.
I want my dog Mia to go to my friend Brianna’s boyfriend Aaron, he will treat her well (even if he's Canadian).
Shut down my Facebook after a year, I don't want people awkwardly wishing me a happy birthday.
I want my extensive music collection to go to my brother. (Also, I’m leaving all of my passwords inside of the case of our favorite show to watch together, it’s your job to close my Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts. My iCloud account has all the passwords saved so it won’t be too much trouble for you.)
I want my Beyoncé shrine to be shipped to Amber Wiest.
My clothes are amazing, burn them with me, none of you living worked hard enough to save my life, so you shouldn’t get to savor my amazing taste in clothing.
My journal, songbook, and records should go to Bolton Windover, just because.
I leave my Barth collection to Ty Gist and my James Cone books to Bubba Hunt. I want my copy of my favorite book, The Color Purple, to go to Charles Taylor – who in a lot of ways was my Shug Avery but also my Celie. Every Toni Morrison book I own shall be given to Broderick Greer. All the rest of my books should be donated to a school in East Austin, because Lord knows AISD isn’t giving those kids good books to read.
I leave my DVD copy of the amazing movie Selena to Daniel Williams.
My rainbow flag I leave to Matthew Aldas. My Black Liberation flag I leave to Mudeer Habeeb.
My original artwork I leave to Servant Church.
In light of my death I want a tribute song written by Stevie Wonder and/or performed by Beyoncé, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj (RNB) and released as a charity track in which the proceeds are donated to the NAACP. They’ll need the money to take down the APD.
And I leave my college diploma to my parents; hopefully the money APD gives you will finish paying for it.
This is the last will and testament of Jarell Wilson.