An Open Letter to the loved ones of those we lost…. – The Feminist Wire

An Open Letter to the loved ones of those we lost….

By Douglas Ramsey and J. T. Roane

Dear Lesley McSpadden, Esaw Garner, Monica McBride, loved ones of Domonique Newburn as well as the countless others of us who have in the last year lost someone dear to unfathomable violence:

Your cries have touched our collective soul. The endless tears that come with such loss join a flood that could easily drown America given that so many of us have lost loved ones too early. Your kin, like so many others we can name and so many more we do not know about or cannot recall, died too young. Black people are predisposed to early deaths in America- the result of direct murder or the slow insidious death created by structural inequalities, racism, white supremacy, gender violence, and homophobia.

Your efforts to rear and love them were not lost with their departure from this plane. They have joined the realm of the ancestors, the place beyond the visible and the palpable, where so many like them dwell. They add to the wind in the sails of our collective history of struggle. They did not die in vain. Ignore the media as they attempt to blame your loved ones for their deaths. This type of boundary-less and unscrupulous slander is only meant to reinforce the notion that we die because we don’t deserve to live. This circular bullshit is meant as a distraction that absolves the forces that maintain the conditions that make us expendable and exterminable. The logics of the corporate media trap us into unwinnable contests and arguments about the merits of one life and the justification for one death and this is simply beside the point.

Your cries echo those of Mamie Till and Myrlie Evers. That means, this type of state sanctioned and extra-legal violence is hardly new. Let their work be an inspiration. Both Till and Evers recognized that to get justice for their kin, they had to push for the conditions that would ensure it for everybody. As you seek justice and peace, your loved ones are there with you and with all of us as we face a world primed by our bloodletting.  We are with you and your loss will not be forgotten. May your loved ones join our community altar, the place where we mourn and remember together.

We wish you strength, courage, patience, will, heart, love, and fight. We stand with you. We support you. We love you. You are important to us. We will win with your kin behind us.

Sincerely Yours,

Your brothers/sons in the struggle, Douglas Ramsey and J.T. Roane


jt (2)JT Roane is an organizer, writer, and a historian recently relocated to New York City. His various projects recall histories of healing in Black communities as usable pasts in efforts toward social and economic justice.



douglasDouglas Edward Ramsey is an educator and writer. His areas of interest are African and Black Studies.