The whole world appears to be scrutinizing your every move. Some of us are judging you fairly. And some of us are judging you unfairly. But if you’re reading this, I hope you’ll submit and entrust yourselves to God. He is the only person who judges justly.
I was a five-minute walk from home when a police car abruptly stopped beside me. Then the police officers rolled down the window and yelled, “stop!” But I stopped walking before they demanded me to. I was afraid—I was too afraid to move.
Police cars weren’t uncommon in my neighbourhood. I was twenty years old at the time, and I lived in a housing project with my mom and my siblings. And some of our neighbours were drug dealers who attracted other criminals and police officers to the neighbourhood.
Therefore, although police officers weren’t uncommon in my neighbourhood—although police officers had arrested several black boys from my neighbourhood—that was the first time I became a suspect to police officers.
After the police officers yelled at me to stop moving, they got out of their car and moved towards me. And in front of onlooking strangers and neighbours, they were about to arrest me— another big, black, boy. The police officers told me I looked like a criminal.
Ten years before that, shortly after I reunited with my mom when I immigrated to Canada from Ghana, she warned me to leave my violent temper behind in Ghana. She said because I’m black, if I get into a fight with another person, police officers in Canada will arrest me like a criminal and take me to prison.
That was my first impression of police officers in Canada. So on my first day of school, a white boy became angry with me for asking his white girlfriend for directions. He choked me. He punched and kicked me. And he threw me to the ground.
I didn’t defend myself. I didn’t want police officers to arrest me and take me to prison.
Still, the white boy beat me up so badly, my mom was forced to take me to the hospital. But in my mind, the hospital was better than prison.