I compiled this list because sometimes I get complacent. Because even though I actively choose not to live in fear, the people on this list remind me that I cannot be so naïve. Because even if I remain aware, the next time a name is added (and I pray one isn’t added) that I’m not caught off guard. Because while I did not know these people personally, I just as easily could have. Because as an artist, I have an obligation to tell these stories. Because as an artist, as much as I want to tune out all the bad and smile, sometimes I have to acknowledge pain and sorrow so that the universe can be at balance. Because it’s so easy to get lost under piles of fluff pieces. Because I’m using my voice on a public platform and I have an obligation to my community. Because we have to be our own ally before we can ask others to be. Because my heart skips a beat when I drive past a cop car and I know it shouldn’t but it does. Because I want the activists and civil leaders on the front lines in court houses and town halls to know that I support their cause, even if I cannot be as involved as what is needed. Because a life is a life is a life and it’s not fair that we don’t get to see all of who these people were; we’re only shown the bad pictures or the bad report cards as if that justifies the incident. Because there’s no such thing as a “perfect victim”. Because apparently there’s a hierarchy to victimhood now. Because we cannot forget. Because there are days when I’m find myself being consumed by an anger that I never knew was possible and it frightens me. Because i don’t want to be afraid. Because I want to keep my heart open and full of love.
Manuel Loggins Jr.