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  • Writer's pictureAshley Gray

A Fallen Saint- Rest in Peace Elijah McClain

I've been really struggling to read about Elijah McClain's murder. I mean I've avoided it like I have some of this data analysis. Questions of can I do this? How will I heal once my heart breaks? Where will I find more tears to add to the river of tears I've cried in 2020 alone? I knew reading about him would change my life forever, much like Sandra Bland's murder. I've told y'all and others that her death haunts me. God forbid I have anyone else to add to this list.

I was able to tease out why Elijah McClain's death hurts me so bad. In a conversation with a mentor, it struck me that it hurt because he was so Jesus- like. Before I explain, I am in no way comparing him to anyone else- please understand. I am also not interested in forcing Jesus on you- I think that's actually anti-Jesus in nature. But if we think about Jesus' last words... it's hard to even explore his death because it seems like all we know is brutality. I have avoided every scripture and scholarly account that describes the brutality that Jesus suffered. I remember when The Passion of the Christ came to theaters. Churches brought out theater seats so we could watch the suffering of Christ first-hand. I remember thinking as a child that this was trauma-laden. My heart cannot handle brutality. It just can't. My stomach sinks everytime someone is in pain.

So I finally read the transcript of his final words. *TW*

I can't but hear some of Jesus' last words:

"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."

Luke 23:34

"Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Luke 23:43

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34

"I thirst."

John 19:28

In Jesus' moments of kindness he still never uttered a word of anger, vengeance or malice. Elijah, a person of different abilities was subjected to physical abuse then death by lethal intravenous injection. He should be hear. We should all be celebrating his violin serenades at the local animal shelter. In no way am I implying we meet violence with peace. I'm just talking about Elijah. I know me- I wouldn't have had it in me to be kind to those evil people. And even if he had met them with utter wrath, he still wouldn't have and DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG. He and other differently-abled Black folks have been murdered including Tanisha Anderson and Pamela Turner and more. They deserve to be here.

May the heavenly orchestra of angels welcome you with high honors. I'm sorry I wasn't there. I'm sorry.

I have a few questions to reflect on.

  1. What will it take for white people's hearts to break? Is there no limit? Should this even be a concern of mine?

  2. What can we do when faced with these situations? Should we fight back? Do I tell them I love them? Do I tell them I value them? Do we run down our good qualities?

  3. Is it ever our job to try to convince folks of our humanity?

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