Many lament today in commemoration of Jonathan Jackson, the younger sibling of Soledad Brother George Jackson. To many today marks his death. But to truly commemorate today and the life of a young man transitioned too soon, it is imperative to acknowledge that Jackson lived more in his seventeen years than most do a lifetime.
Jonathan had the privilege of having a strong conscious figure mold him and save him from succumbing to the traps of white supremacy. To some Jonathan’s older brother George let his younger brother to the flames of black rage and youthful carelessness. But to the conscious gaze, George let his brother to freedom. A freedom Jonathan lusted for as an adolescent, when most lust for sex and material goods.He didn’t seek money, fame, or women, he sought justice.
To some, Jackson brutalized the environment in the Marin County Courthouse on this day forty-seven years ago, but in actuality Jackson was a young man brutalized in every way possible by the pervasiveness of white supremacy. He sought to right the wrongs that sullied the black experience. He sought to emerge from the silence and invisibility that engulfs those born black and subjected to the daily violence of poverty and cyclical disenfranchisement. He sought to be heard, and he was.
Some wait for their respect. Others mistake it for fear or courtesy. While most die waiting for it. But others like Jonathan Jackson, take their respect. On the day of this transition Jackson took what so many beg, wait, and plead for and initiated the change he wanted to see.
He didn’t wait on a white savior, or a symbol to alter his oppressed state. He sought to be his own hero, and ended up becoming a hero for all black people.
This young man’s story sends a inextinguishable fire through the collective heart of the black community. Jonathan, as a symbol of young black excellence, illustrates the potential we have as blacks to lead our children to consciousness.
How different would our world be, if more of our black children were conscious and culturally cognizant?
If we possess a fearlessness so will our children. Jackson’s end may have been tragic, but perhaps it is even more tragic for our young people to navigate their lives blind to their own power.
Jackson as a symbolic of the potential of black our youth provokes the following question:
How many more of our children will be murdered, raped, lynched, harvested or issued any kind of cyclical disenfranchisement because we are afraid?
May the late Jonathan Jackson inspire those you take a stand in your life, in your community, and in the plight blacks face throughout the world. May he inspire you to stand a little taller, and to take a few gallant strides towards freedom.
In the words of Jackson’s older brother the late George Jackson:
Man-child, black man-child with submachine gun in hand, he was free for a while. I guess that’s more than most of us can expect.
Jonathan, thank you for your sacrifice and the imprint you’ve left on souls of so many black folks.
Today, we won’t cry because you’re gone, instead we’ll shed tears of happiness because you lived.
All that day and all that night there sat an awful gladness in my heart,–nay, blame me not if I see the world thus darkly through the Veil,–and my soul whispers ever to me saying, “Not dead, not dead, but escaped; not bond, but free.”W.E.B. Dubois
Rest In Power, Black King. See you at the Mountaintop, and tell George I say hey. 🙂