We never met, but you could have been my brother. As a matter of fact, the blood of our ancestors are similar. Funny, since I was once told by an astrologer that my star chart is highly driven by my ancestors. He told me that a long history of them are very close by. Perhaps that is why I am writing you this letter – I can feel the tears of our ancestors since Saturday.
I also keep seeing the photo of the street car – the grainy photo on Dundas West with the green “Victoria’s Wellness Centre” in the right hand corner. Just over a year ago, there was a good chance I would have been walking on that street, or perhaps even in that streetcar coming home from a night out with friends. I lived just one block away, in an old house on top of a café. If I were in bed, I would have heard the nine pops into the night air. It would have awoken me and I would have worried.
In the last few days, I have wondered what I could have said to you if I was on that bus. I would have known that you and I spoke the same language. Why? Just because I would have known. Would I have called out to you and asked you what was wrong? What was upsetting you? What could I do? I know that I wouldn’t have been scared, because in your eyes, I see the eyes of my brother’s, my cousins, and the ancestors I told you about. I would have been calm amongst them. Perhaps my words in our language would have calmed you too.
Sammy, in days gone past, or if you looked like someone else, you would have not been shot for being agitated, or because you yelled and demanded people get off the bus. You would not have been shot for being a confused and possibly lost teenager. Other methods would taken place that would have tried to diffuse the situation, and try to calm you down. But Sammy, today’s world isn’t friendly to people whose ancestors blood runs through our veins like ours. We are not allowed to show anger, or be upset, or reactive or defiant. This is too much of a stain on the character of our people, and not on the life circumstances we are living. So we must suffer in silence. Or else.
Your mother must think she’s crazy for having sent you from a war-zone that she thought she was saving you from to one that actually targeted you. Your sister Sarah, who I know you loved and protected fiercely, must wonder who she’s supposed to trust if we can’t trust the people who are supposed to serve and protect us. I wish I could go into their homes and cry with them, and extend to them my shoulder. Our community would be the only source of support right now.
Perhaps you were lost, perhaps you were on the wrong track. But you had dreams. You had family. You had a belief that there was something better for you. Your friends are speaking about you as their source of light and that you were fiercely loyal. They speak of you as though they aren’t sure what to do without you around. You were somebody important. They will remember you for that.
Sammy, since Saturday I have felt defeated. I have wondered how many young men like you, with the blood of our ancestors running through their veins have felt lost and defeated. Who will never look at a bus or a police officer the same way again.
Your sister in spirit,