My Thoughts on the Central Park Five
Hey Family!! It has been awhileeeee! I have not written a blog since May 2018. I know I know, I am dead wrong, but I am back… for now at least lol. But, why am I writing? I know that is the question you have, and you are trying to decide if you should in fact keep on reading. Please do! I am taking time to put my thoughts onto paper (or the internet) because I had too much to say for an Instagram post after watching “When They See Us”. If you do not know what I am referring to, stop reading, go to Netflix, say a prayer, and watch the critically acclaimed mini-series written and directed by Ava Duvernay. The four-part miniseries about the Central Park Five premiered on Netflix on May 31st. The miniseries documents the true stories of the five young boys (Antron, Kevin, Yusef, Raymond, and Korey) wrongly accused, convicted, and later exonerated of all charges in the Central Park Jogger case. I am not a journalist, so I will not go into detail about the case, but my intentions are to express the thoughts and feelings I experienced by watching the series, speaking with friends and family, and praying.
I want to start by saying “When they See Us” is a masterpiece. From the script, to the actors, the music, the strategic camera angles----- everything was executed with precision and authenticity that seeped through the screen and into the hearts of all the viewers I have spoken with thus far. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a mixed bag of emotions while watching a show. I felt sad, hopeless, angry, prayerful, humbled, and thankful.
Because this is a true story and must have felt like a living nightmare for the boys and everyone involved who supported them. My heart broke as I am not a mother but the big sister of 5 BLACK men. I could not and quite frankly I do not want to imagine how I would have felt to watch my brothers go through such atrocities at the hands of those who are called to protect and serve as well as ensure justice.
Because of the many people who STILL treat black people especially black men in this unfair, unjust, and inhumane manner. Not to mention how many others are still behind bars for a crime they have no recollection of committing because one cannot recall what they did not do. Also, because I was simultaneously reading articles while watching episode one and discovered Fairstein (former prosecutor and head of the sex crimes until in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office) still maintains no wrongdoing on her part. She wholeheartedly believes the boys still had something to do with the crime even if the true perpetrator Matias Reyes confessed to performing the heinous crime solo. Fairstein maintains “he must have stayed behind and completed the act, but they were there initially.”
Because of the many times I heard the word “animal”. Which in my humble opinion was not an accurate name whatsoever, since I have never seen a white person treat their “animals” in such a manner. Fairstein (what an ironic name) had my blood boiling, you hear me?! The cops who listened to her bullying and persuasive rhetoric on what it would take to get a confession out of boys was enough to make me vomit. And the actual lawyer that had the task of taking the case to trial for the state of NY who was brilliantly depicted with reluctance and trepidation caused me to become enraged. The lack of courage to push back on Fairstein’s antics and outright racial biases was sickening and almost too hard to watch (I think I paused and walked away about 4 times). This is strikingly familiar today, as some of those of European descent, who acknowledge in their hearts how their brothers and sisters treat black people is utterly repulsive but still will not find an ounce of valor to combat the skewed views and fight for justice on behalf of the marginalized and wrongly demonized black folk.
Because of the sadness, hopelessness, and anger. I kept pondering “why God? You are sovereign, and this could have only happened if You allowed it to. Why do wicked and racists people prevail?” And so, on and so forth. I prayed for peace for my own heart and all who were deeply impacted because they lived the story and not just the second hand vicarious trauma I was undergoing.
Because of the thought of Daniel, so many others in the Bible, and Jesus Himself. I was reminded that God is good even in the presence of everything devoid of goodness. God also smacked me upside the head in the Spirit, with this thought: the same God that saved you, will in fact save “them” if they repent. The question that resonated in my mind and still rings true today is: What do we do when the enemy becomes our brother? My assumption is that Matias Reyes converted to Christianity by the tone and content of his words after his confession. If my assumption is in fact correct, the very man that caused all these people’s lives to fall upside down, the five boys, their families, the Central Park Jogger herself, Trisha Meli, and countless others--- confessed and repented of his sins and we know what that means. He was forgiven
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
-1 John 1:9
I prayed that the former prosecutor, lawyer, cops, and the judicial system would actually become sorrowful and repent. That others watching this series in 2019 would think on their own actions and cry out to God in repentance to receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
Because God’s providence was on full display as Korey’s story played out on episode four. It was only by divine appointment that Korey would be in the same prison with Matias Reyes and be in a space where he wanted to confess of his sins. In my heart, I knew God would ultimately get the glory. The whole time I watched, I thought “someone is going to know Jesus as a result of all this. I just knew it.” When Korey’s mama came to that prison and said she found the Lord and got saved, Chileeee you would have thought I knew her. Ultimately, I do not know why these series of events had to occur and I do not intend to flippantly explain it away with the sovereignty of God. The fact remains, we live in a fallen world with fallen sinful people (which I am one of) and we have free will. Horrible acts that God does not will, but allow, happen every day. But what I lean on and what I know beyond the shadow of a doubt to be true, is:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” As the heavens are higher than earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
I also think of the words of Daniel that give you goosebumps and make the hairs on your arm stand up:
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
And that is my closing prayer for the many lives that will be exposed to and deeply impacted by the story of Antron, Kevin, Yusef, Raymond, and Korey, that they will know the One True and Living God, Jesus the Christ.
Thanks for reading! Hopefully, the next time I write again won’t be in 2020.
Until next time, whatever you do, do it ALL for the glory of God.