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June 10, 2016
AT THE BUS STOP
I was at the Dartmouth Bridge Terminal and I overheard two women talking about the “Stop the Violence” article in the Halifax Metro. They were talking about how they thought it was good that the two young black men were dead because they don’t belong here. They said, “Well, it’s good that someone shot and killed them because they are from North Preston and all they do is pimp young girls and take money and sell drugs.”
My stomach turned. I felt distraught. I knew those boys; they were my friends. Did it also mean I didn’t belong in Nova Scotia because I am black too? The two women said, “It isn’t fair that they have all of the attention in the news right now just because they are black and got shot. The police have more important things to do than deal with this crap. They look like guys who wouldn’t get through school anyway.” My brain was screaming. It was disgusted. But I did NOT just sit by and do nothing.
I spoke up. I said, “Are you serious? This is huge problem in our community. We are trying to stop the violence. There was a march for the community and hundreds of people participated in it. People who cared about what’s going on. My friend Quentrel organized it.” The women didn’t listen to me.
They said, “You are just defending them because you’re black and because they are probably your family. You are probably scared something will happen to you.” Their tone grew louder and their faces turned red. They began cursing. I was surprised they didn’t use the N word. When my bus came I told them, “You are disrespectful. I am going to do my best to help the community stop this violence.” I didn’t swear. I usually don’t. I wanted to be classy; plus, I had on my work uniform. They said I was being stereotypical and they called me a hypocrite because I stood up for the victims.
A previous version of this letter appeared in The Coast.
It ruined my night. I am still so upset about it. I feel disgusted by what they said. I wish I had gotten their names. Now that this is going on I feel scared to walk out of my house. I don’t know what is going to happen to me. I feel like just because the boys were black, it triggered the true feelings to come out in people. I wonder if this is what people really think.
If this is about drugs then why did they have to use violence? Why take someone’s precious life away from them? Even the one they found on the street, he was in the way and they left him out on the street. Who does that? I wish that I was there. I know CPR, and I could have tried to help. I could have tried to bring him back to life. I feel like because he was black, people left him in the street. Only people who don’t have a heart might have let him die in the street. —Asia Jones