You know the name Trayvon. You know Mike. Eric. Tamir. Alton. And Philando. But do you know the name Marquise?
July 13th, 2013.
The day the judge was going to reveal the verdict of the murder of Trayvon Martin. I remember that day very clearly.
I was in an IHOP with a friend. We were anxiously waiting for our food while I was anxiously awaiting the verdict ruling. I sign in to my phone to find the breaking news that George Zimmerman, the then-29 year old neighborhood watch coordinator who fatally shot 17 year old Trayvon Martin the night of February 26th, 2012, had been acquitted of all charges.
I was both sick to my stomach and in utter disbelief.
I remember walking into the door where my mother was watching the news on CNN as hundreds of protests broke out. My phone rings and it’s my dad. I say, “Hello,” he says, “Love you. Okay? I love you.”
Right then and there, I realized the magnitude of what was going on. For my father to call me out of nowhere and tell me he loved me, something in him was awakened. Perhaps the fear every Black parent has when their child leaves their home and may not come back.
Following the ruling was the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. In response to not only Trayvon Martin’s case but rather the uncovering of the many cases of young African American males between the ages of 18-24 being gunned down. In the years that have followed, many of the cases appeared all over the United States, from New Orleans, Louisiana and Ferguson, Missouri.
Little did I know of a case happening in my own backyard.
April 6th, 2017.
The day the judge was going to reveal the verdict of the murder of Marquise Jones. And I knew nothing about it or him.
According to a 2017 SA Current article, Marquise Jones, 23, was fatally shot the night of February 28th, 2014, by San Antonio Police Officer Robert Encina. Encina claimed that he saw Jones wiggling around in his seat, assuming he was armed, following the statement with his claim he saw a silver revolver as Jones opened the passenger door and turned to run.
As he ran, Encina fired eight rounds, eventually hitting Jones in the back.
Three years later, Encina is acquitted and Jones remains dead and is mourned not only by the family and friends that knew him but the San Antonio community, many of who were not even aware of his death even occurring.
Why didn’t Marquise Jones get any local coverage? Why didn’t he get any national coverage? How could I have been here this whole time standing with the people of New Orleans, Sanford, New York, North Carolina, and Ferguson when all this time this happened here in my hometown? What does that say about Black Lives mattering in San Antonio, Texas?
Marquise Jones was not the only case in San Antonio. There are others. I was shocked and dismayed to discover so much violence and hatred in the place I call home.
Though I was not surprised. San Antonio, Texas is not a predominately African American city. Rather, with Hispanic/Latino being the overwhelmingly higher race/ethnicity, African Americans populate minimal parts of the city. With the majority residing on the East side, this shocked them to the core. Many protests broke out and small groups convened to discuss the very nature of policing in a large metropolitan city like San Antonio.
You know the name Trayvon. You know Mike. Eric. Walter. Tamir. Alton. Philando. Now you know Marquise.