We've come here for many reasons and from many different places. I met Raz about a year and a half after I got here. We only dated about three months then moved in together. You just know when you know. She had a place and I had a place but we knew we wanted our own place together. You know, to start new memories and stories in that place.
I loved to write stories and essays. Still do. I don't do it as much as I used to but I keep journals still. Mostly about my life, my life with Raz, struggles and blessings we experience, being black and gay in this country, all kinds of things. Raz is the painter. She painted most of these in here.
"I used to take her painting classes when I was a teenager."
She talks about those times. I was still at Berkeley then.
"Tell me about the riot."
Not the riot, honey, the rebellion. We rebelled! Well Marvin had just been killed by the police. Had been a string of police shootings and Marvin Edwards was just the straw that set the city off. Like a lot of the cases, Marvin was with his friends and the police decided to harass a group of black children. People talk about how bad race relations were in the sixties in the deep south, but the same thing was going on right here in L.A. mid nineties. Not just L.A. either. All over this country.
Seem like we were getting harassed all around then. Just two days before I had gotten jumped by two black men and one woman because I was gay. Then I show up at the rally for Marvin protesting he killing and harassment of black people by the police. We were all gathered at the fountain. There were about two hundred folks there. From all parts of the state. We were chanting with our fists up 'Stop! Stop! Kill no more! Police brutality at our door!' Then I don't know who but somebody set off a fire cracker and seem like all hell broke loose. I saw one of those cops lift up his stick over a woman and was about to swing on her. I just had to do something. She had tripped and was at the bottom of the tree holding her hands up to protect herself from the inevitable swing. I just couldn't let that happen. I ran over and jumped on his back. I was clawing at his face and trying to hold on. He was screaming 'Get off me you bitch! Get off me!' My weight on his back had him crouched over then he got some power from somewhere and stood straight up. Just shot up. He did that and shook me right off him. I fell straight back and hit my head on something. Just happened news cameras was all around and one of the stations got a video of the whole thing. We end up going to court 'cause I sure did sue them, yes I did. I won too. We settled out of court and I can't talk about how much I got. But I won though. Been five years now and the still ain't let me forget it. I didn't pick up and move or nothin'. I stayed right in here. They still drive by waitin' for me to slip up. I ain't the one they need to watch though. They need to watch themselves 'cause they still doin' dirt. You know that don't you. They messier then these gangs out here.
I don't know how much you want me to tell you but that's about all I have.