An attack on us all

Jussie Smollett was attacked because he’s gay and he’s Black.

Persons of interest in Jussie Smollett attack captured on camera, police say

Chicago police officials say they plan to release surveillance images Wednesday evening that show two “persons of interest” in the alleged racist and homophobic attack on “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett. Police say the two individuals are wanted for questioning as detectives continue to investigate Tuesday’s brutal incident as a hate crime.

There are rumors flying all around the Internet about the exact events surrounding the attack on the ‘Empire’ actor, which I will not repeat here.

What I will repeat are the general facts already reported by The Chicago Sun-Times and The Chicago Tribune:

  • that Smollett was walking in the 300 block of East North Lower Water Street at 2 a.m. Tuesday;
  • that he said two people approached him and yelled racial and homophobic slurs;
  • that he was hit and an unknown substance poured on him, and a rope was wrapped around his neck;
    • Earlier reports described this rope as a noose, although Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Sun-Times that it was a “thin, light rope” and didn’t necessarily resemble a noose;
  • that Smollett, in a follow-up report to police detectives, said the two assailants shouted “this is MAGA country”.

Police to release images of persons of interest in attack on ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett

Chicago police said Wednesday afternoon they have found images of “potential persons of interest” wanted in an alleged assault and battery of “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett. The images came from a surveillance camera and show persons of interest wanted for questioning, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

This was not a one-off occurrance. This was the manifestation of a long-running and low-level, unorganized campaign against queer people and people of color.

This is why LGBTQ+ individuals are sensitive to the portrayal of their stories and their experiences in the mass media. This is why communities of color are upset when their individual and collective sufferings are dismissed or ignored. This is the violence they talk about when individuals from these communities speak up about attacks against them.

Did I say “them”? I mean us. I meant we.

Lil Uzi Hurt on Twitter

Last year, I went to DC with the boy I was dating. One time we kissed-the way couples tend to-on a street, by a park. It was around 11pm. We sat down on a nearby park bench. Perhaps my feet hurt? I put my arm around him and he played music from his iPhone.

Lil Uzi Hurt on Twitter

It was nice. But every time I closed eyes and tried to enjoy the moment, I’d imagine the feeling of cold, hard metal crashing against my skull. Is this safe? Would we be able to defend ourselves? 2/3

Lil Uzi Hurt on Twitter

The attack on Jessie Smoulet realizes an ever-present fear for queer PoC all over America-even “progressive cities like NYC. I don’t know what to say. I just hope for a time when holding a boy’s hand doesn’t make me feel like a target for violence. We have to do better.

Marriage equality might have become of the law of the United States in 2015, but discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals didn’t end then. The Civil Rights Act was enacted in 1964, but discrimination against peoples of color — especially Black people — didn’t end then.

Our struggle hasn’t ended. The violence against us hasn’t ended.

I cannot tell you how much I dream that one day I’ll be able to kiss the boy I love without the fear that cold, hard metal will crash against my skull because of it.