Brutalization of a Teen Gardener

I hesitated to write anything at all but the thought nags.

Today I saw a viral video of one of my former 17 year old students being punched in the head repeatedly by a cop.

It is minutes long.

The punches seem to go on forever. The cop must weigh three times as much as the thin lanky teen, who stole a bike and tackled the cop out of reactionary fear of rearrest. So this boy lies literally sandwiched in violent abuse and will once again be in my class this coming week. I just kept thinking, "oh my god, this could have been so much worse."

What an awful response.

I write this with the same feeling in my heart and with the same urgency that I've written so many other anecdotes about my work, and that's simply because I have one real point to make:

The people we toss behind locked doors and inside cages are complex individuals. The people we lock up are individuals. We lock up people. 

And some haven't fully gone through puberty. Some just crack eggplant jokes all day and want you to make a batch of fried green tomatoes for them.

I've been thinking so much about collective grief lately. About the hope and action that accompanies devastation and heartbreak. I'd like to talk about that more.

Im out of words tonight.