The fight to be heard not stereotyped

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Delonte Wilkins writes about his experience with the journalist Aaron Wiener who reported on gentrification:

“During the interviews, I shared so much detail with Wiener on my life experiences with the violence of gentrification, and even my experiences with the legal system and family struggles. I eloquently broke down the system and explained how gentrification developed.

I broke [gentrification] down to Wiener, and also explained to him my experiences with the criminal justice system and being arrested for marijuana multiple times. I found it funny that in his article he failed to mention that though marijuana was illegal at the time, it is now legal. […] He decides to leave the reader guessing by only saying “drug possession”.

I could go on and on about how Wiener, in this article, erased all the violence that my community faced for the new white colonizers. Or about how he erased my strength and courage in fighting back and reduced me to some sort of criminal beggar whose only saving grace was a nonprofit. He fails to mention my accomplishments.

Articles like the one Wiener wrote can be described as slightly informative and vaguely thought-provoking. Yet, the Washington Post and all major media. even while having opportunities to tell unique and accurate stories, choose to perpetuate the same narrative over and over: poor, drugs, criminal, social services, Section 8 housing, etc.

So while I’m fine with Wiener and the Washington post pointing out my struggle, prison sentence, drab housing, bedbugs, stress and anxiety. When it comes to the fight against mass incarceration, displacement, and gentrification, all I ask is this, Storytellers: Don’t forget to mention. I gave it all I had to give.

LinkUp Magazine is a prisoner-centered platform to elevate the voices and political agenda of the most oppressed. Our aim is to build and maintain a community focused dialogue, and provide accurate news and information to our subscribers.” (Thank you to the team for letting us repost this story.)

Tae (Delonte) is writing about this story which published in 2018. To see his full article from the Winter 2020 edition visit LinkUp to get the magazine.


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