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Essay: The Corner

The Corner
Anthony Rosario-Licerio

My first Street Memorial happened at the corner of NE 40th AVE and NE 49th ST. Jason Wilkinson led Police on a car chase the van he drove would be stopped using the Pursuit Intervention Technique — commonly known as the PIT Maneuver.

Internal Dialogue: What are your final thoughts in that moment? Why did your life end begin and end with violence? Who do you become had the world not written you off? 

“We believe the vehicle hit the officer,” enough to justify the emptying of service issued weapons in open air, just another day at the shooting range.

The day of the vigil, Me and the homies were hanging out at a Truman Elementary adjacent to the corner, when a friend from distant memory walked by; my curiosity had me. I did not know Jason, but I knew his people.

The bereaved dressed in white tees adorn with Jason’s photo, would retell the event, call for justice, and hold a moment of silence. The Veladoras, flowers, and tears held space where bullet casings once laid. This peaceful moment remembrance would not remain peaceful; we’re never given an opportunity to grieve.

You spend your life learning a cop car, how to move around the cops, how to navigate the nuances of their language, and how to remain non-violent in opposition to power; your tools to get home safe.

A car would roll up from the direction of Oscar’s, the neighborhood corner store. Someone from the neighborhood must’ve called the cops, a crowd of 20 or so draws attention in the Suburbs. The patrol car would get a few paces from the corner before they met resistance. A woman related to Jason would launch herself towards the car, many of the bereaved would follow. The commotion would disrupt our peaceful memorial; Who does Neighborhood Watch call when the Cops are committing acts of violence?

My most recent Street Memorial happened at the corner of NE 25th AVE and NE 78th ST — Carlos Hunter was following his sister home, when he was pulled over. A Fix it Ticket, turn violent.

Carlos was a known gang member to the Cops, enough to justify the emptying of service issued weapons in open air, “maintaining the course”. I did not know Carlos Hunter, but I knew his people.

When you’re born into a war you never asked for, lucky few become soldiers for the movement, while the rest become martyrs. Will this war claim my body?

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