Lucille “Big Mama” Allen had permanent lessons and we came to know them as gifts. Thanks to each of you who read the column and emailed me.
I heard you! Last column we closed with me celebrating being summoned to serve on the jury. Also, I was sharing with you the first round of the jury process. Just in case you are reading this for the first time.
Again, let me revisit the US reconstruction period and its platform before I tell the second phase of my juror selection experience.
Fact! African-Americans were the only group enslaved on U.S. soil. Also, the over-reaching and blatant inhumanity and indignity of slavery, that give is this enduring economic.
The Second reconstruction is identified as the activity of the civil rights movement, African Americans fought for changes to “reconstruct” our lives. Yet the third reconstruction is about taking direct action for change and will include our voices, job origination and building economic wealth but for this to happen we will need to rise up in action.
Big Mama lessons challenged me to be ready and expectant for God. Her words described us standing on our tiptoes with hands raised to God saying, “Choose me God. Choose me!”
In other words, Big Mama said, “Be ready!” Keep reading the next columns and this will all make sense!
Just a reminder, my juror notice gave me great excitement because I love serving, but this juror screening opened the door to prove we needed a third reconstruction. Again, I repeat after 1) a deadly pandemic wreaking havoc on my own family. Big Mama would have called it a “DamnedDemic”, and 2) after the economic collapse and 3) after a racial awakening showcasing existing racial injustices, I found myself sitting in the courtroom shoulder-to-shoulder with 42-plus citizens unmasked, no social distancing and no protective directives at all.
First, we filled out a juror from exposing our information on who we are and what are our values on laws and judgement. The completed form asked deep questions and allowed the court to choose and /or release potential jurors based on the completion of the application.
The form was very revealing and by completing the questions in the document. This will be important in the next column, so keep reading my column. Then the judge began a dialogue on why we are here and what is going to happen.
So after the judge read the “marching orders,” he then made some very personal statements about his life and the facilities that rambled on longer than I desired. The prosecution and the defense were allowed to explain the expectations of the jurors.
The first expectation was we were to “assume the innocence of the accused” and we were also to confess that we can easily choose on all levels of the punishment spectrum which in this case we have to admit that we should have no challenges choosing 25 years to life in prison for this male sitting in court for this child abuse case.
Keep in mind, none of the 45+ potential jurors know what the changes and accusation is as this man sits in the courtroom. The prosecution begins to use game show tactics, images and figures to convince us that we can easily see and identify reasonable doubt even if the other information presents opposing information.
The defense tried to tell us that his client had to be believed as innocent, and tried to get us to believe that he believed in the innocence of his client. He said the opposition will give you data and testi-mony to the contrary yet we must stand on the innocence of his client.
All this time, the jury had not been selected and the presenting information seemed like a trial in progress as both sides showcased the situation yet they both made light of the rules of engagement and the responsibility of the juror, if selected.
Then all things broke loose when I asked a question. Check out part three of this column next week for the end game.
Big Mama was right, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. And my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Terry Allen is an award-winning media professional, journalist, and entrepreneur. He is also the founder of City Men Cook and 1016 Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org