Christine's Corner-The Rosedale Daily
Christine Thomas interviews Attorney Edward Johnson Jr. and Mr. Trent Roberts for Black Men in America.
Hello readers, I recently sat down with Attorney Edward Johnson Jr. and Mr. Trent Roberts. Two men who don’t know each other, but share a common experience-being Black males in America. I chose a central location Downtown Detroit, for us to sit down and discuss this very troubling trend that is plaguing our nation-Black citizens dying at the hands of the police.
Interview transcribed by Moxie J. Allen
Christine- Gentlemen, thank you for sitting with me.
Edward/ Trent- You’re welcome (in unison)
Christine-These are very dark days indeed for our country. The phenomenon of police brutality is not new to the history of America. What is new however, are the cameras in which people are able to get front row seats to fellow Americans being-to put it bluntly-murdered, by so called professionals who are trained to diffuse situations, but are taking lives instead. And more recently the police are now being targeted and marked for death. Scary times.
Some of you are already familiar with Attorney Johnson from his radio and TV ads, but you may not know-he also volunteers his time and money to causes concerning high risk young Black males in less fortunate communities.
So, Mr. Johnson-your thoughts on this current situation.
Edward-I am deeply troubled by this.
Christine- Edward, we’ve been friends for a while and you know, I love you and your wife, but you’re aware of the label you are getting of being a “new Black” because of recent comments you made about accountability and being responsible about choices.
Edward- I somehow knew those words would come back to haunt me. Being a lawyer I see both sides of the argument all the time. We often have the police’s side of the story and the alleged perpetrators side. You know the saying-there are 2 sides to every story and somewhere in the middle is the truth.
Christine-Edward, do you think that there are times you are far removed from what happens in the Black community when it comes to the police and people of color? You grew up rich, you went to Ivy League schools and you are close friends with the police.
Edward-I am a Black man first. Just because I have a Master’s degree, drive an expensive car; it does not make me exempt from being profiled by the police. For me to be driving my car for example, I’m either a drug dealer, or an athlete. With that said, there is still protocol when dealing with the police.
Christine-Ok Edward. I’m going to stop you right there. By protocol, I’m assuming you mean be compliant and cooperate with the police?
Christine-What about the victims who complied with the police and were still killed?
Edward-Very tragic and unfortunate-I am aware that we have trigger-happy police. There needs to be more training and race/culture awareness for the police. I am presently working with my dad and a host of other professional Black males. We are doing our due diligence to get and keep police officers who are known to use excessive force, or are known racists off the beat and more importantly out of communities that are largely people of color. I am also mentoring young Black men and leading them towards law enforcement. I try to get to them before the gangs, or a life that is not conductive for positive growth.
Christine-That’s a start. And we appreciate you. I would like to tell my audience that you and men like you have been instrumental in sending 50 young Black men to college over the past 5 years.
Edward- Thank you. We have to care about each other and ourselves for any change to start. And change has to start within our communities first.
Christine-I believe change has to start with not allowing racist or scared police to police areas where they are not comfortable.
Edward- No arguments there.
Christine- Thank you so much Edward. We might not always see eye-to-eye, but we respect each other to be able to agree to disagree on certain topics. Now, Mr. Roberts, you have been sitting there so patiently. How are you today?
Trent- Fine, thank you for inviting me.
Christine-Of course, and you are welcome. Tell me your thoughts on the situation out here.
Trent-As Mr. Johnson said, this is very troubling. And if it wasn’t for my mother and my own will to do better, I could easily have been a statistic myself. By that I mean, in prison, perhaps run-ins with the police or worse killed by the police or even by someone that looks like me.
Christine-You too mentor young Black men.
Christine-What is the biggest challenge for Black males out here? I’m directing the question to both of you.
Edward-Lack of jobs, failing educational system, feelings of hopelessness-Christine, we’ve talked before and I mentioned that I had a loving father, he was tough-as-nails on me and he didn’t play when it came to education and keeping me on the straight-and-narrow, but a lot of Black men don’t have the father-figure in their lives that they desperately need.
Trent-I would also like to add, gang affiliations, many of the young men I mentor are drawn to these gangs because it gives them a sense-of-belonging. Peer pressure is also to blame, because a lot of our men are scared to stand out from their friends and be different.
Christine-I would like to thank you gentlemen for spending your time with me to discuss this very important matter.
This situation that we are dealing with is not going to change overnight, but we are fortunate to have men like Attorney Johnson and Mr. Roberts who are doing their part in Detroit and surrounding areas to help make changes for a few young men at a time. And both of you encourage these young men to pay-it-forward-which is great. Thank you again, fellas.
The Rosedale Daily
**Please note-this is fiction-any similarities to real people is a coincidence**
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