We walked the same hallways and claimed this very university as our own. I am Rashon Nelson because we not only use our voice for academic success but to impact the communities and people that surround us. I am Rashon Nelson because at the very probates he strolled in for his fraternity, I stood feet away from the crowd and applauded. I am Rashon Nelson because we have taken place in Bloomsburg’s College of Business, I in Marketing, he in Finance. I am Rashon Nelson because we are unapologetically black.
I am Rashon Nelson because I too walk into Starbucks for meetings and for leisure. Am I suspicious? Does my skin render me a threat as I sit to simply speak to a friend? If I decided to walk into Andruss Library Starbucks today and didn’t make a purchase, would I be a trespasser?
Imagine: In 120 seconds I’m viewed as a threat, not because of a weapon I possess, nor due to the fact that I create any TRUE immediate danger. But I’m viewed as a disturbance… as a trespasser and a threat because of the pigment of my skin. Because let’s face it… I’m a young black male. I am Rashon Nelson.
#ItCouldHaveBeenMe that was detained that day. It could’ve been me on the camera standing in disbelief as others stood by boldly claiming, “He didn’t do anything,” “It’s because he’s black.”
In the summer of 1955, Emmett Till was fourteen years old trying to go home after buying a pack of gum. He would eventually be brutally beaten, shot, and killed after being falsely accused of flirting with a white woman. The truth is he was beaten because he was a young black man in the South in the ‘50s.
On February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin, at seventeen years old, was trying to go home after buying a bag of Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea. He was shot at close range for being “suspicious and out of place.” It’s sad that on February 26, 2012, I was celebrating my sixteenth birthday, a day of life, and Trayvon would senselessly lose his very own. The truth is Trayvon Martin was killed over less than $3 because he was a young black man being racially profiled.
On April 12, 2018, Rashon Nelson was simply trying to have a meeting and was arrested for sitting in a public entity. Labeled a disturbance…labeled a trespasser. He is a young black man, who committed no crime. He was no trespasser. He wasn’t a disturbance.
I am Emmett Till because I feel free enough to walk home in my surroundings, unaware of what hate may surround because of the color of my skin. I am Trayvon Martin walking home with my hoodie up just trying to get home some nights. I am Rashon Nelson, waiting for a friend in a coffee shop. I am Cammren Renwick and it could’ve been me.