Mar 22 2012

Anthony Scott and Our ‘Invisible’ Deaths…

Anthony Scott

At 9:45 p.m. on Friday March 16th, 19 year old Anthony Scott was called over to a parked car and then shot point blank. He was transported to St. Francis Hospital where he was pronounced brain dead and on Sunday March 18th his mother made the devastating decision to take her son off of life support. Anthony was dead. He was among the more than 50 people shot and/or killed in Chicago over the weekend. There have been no marches and there is no outrage over this.

I did not know Anthony personally. My connections to him are tenuous but significant. He is the nephew of my little sister’s best friend. He was shot in my neighborhood. He was just like the hundreds of young men of color who I have interacted with and supported over the past 20 years. He mattered because he was human and because we all know and love an “Anthony” in our lives.

In the midst of her grief, his aunt took time to share a few words about him with me. Anthony’s nickname was “Chicken Head” because of his resemblance at birth to a baby chicken. His dream was to join the Navy and even at the age of 19, he often still fell asleep next to his beloved mommy. He was talented. He wrote and performed his own music. He was also a whiz at science. He was a big kid and his favorite dish was a trail mix of Ramen Noodles, Doritos and Slim Jims.

Do you recognize Anthony? He is your son, brother, cousin, best friend, lover, and neighbor. Anthony didn’t deserve what happened to him; no one does. He mentioned his fears of ending up dead to his mother. She sent him to live down South because she feared for him on the streets of Chicago. When I think of all of the young men who are being sent “down South” because they need protection from the mean streets of our major urban centers, I think that we are living in the midst of another Great Migration or perhaps we are recreating our own Underground Railroad in a desperate attempt to save our children.

I want Anthony to know that he is not forgotten. I want his family to know that we all care. You have a chance if you live in Chicago to stop by for his viewing tomorrow. Details are available here. The family can use support and funds right now to cover all of the financial costs associated with his funeral and burial. I am collecting money for them. Checks can be written to Project NIA (Anthony Scott in the memo line) and mailed to 1530 West Morse Ave, Chicago, IL 60626. Any amount will be welcome and appreciated.

Anthony is survived by his mother Kathryn, older brother Alex, 3 younger siblings Divine, Brianna and Omar, and countless family and friends. He is also survived by all of us who comprise the community of fellow travelers who care about the health and the lives of our young people whether we know them or not.

Rest in Power, Anthony! Rest in Power!