Unsolved Homicides Leave Multiple Messages

By Gregory Meriweather March 18, 2016


According to the Violence Policy Center, Indiana ranked No. 1 in Black homicide victimization in 2013. Although I am concerned with the entire state, I must first cut the grass in my own yard. In 2015, 87 percent of homicides of white victims in Indianapolis were solved. Only 50 percent of homicides were solved when the victim was Black. I find these statistics alarming, yet disappointing.

I had the opportunity to speak with a father whose son was murdered in 2015. Unfortunately, his son’s murderer has not been apprehended. When speaking to this father, the first thing that I realized is how lifeless he seemed. Every time I reached out to him, I would ask how he was doing. Each time he answered, I could feel the pains of each day he lived knowing there was someone walking freely with his son’s blood on their hands. Being the father of two children, I could not imagine how I would feel if I were in this man’s shoes. Then my mind began to think about all the messages that are sent when a murder goes unsolved.

The first message I believe was sent is that the murder rate will continue to increase if people believe they can get away with it. What are we saying to would-be murderers? From the looks of the lack of murders solved in the Black community, it seems as if one would stand a good chance of getting away with murder, as long as the person(s) killed are Black.

It also sends the message that someone wants us to kill each other. If this is not the case, why are only 50 percent of the murders resolved when the victim is Black? In most grading systems, 50 percent means you’re failing. We watched the former IMPD chief tell us they were going to utilize every resource they had to solve a homicide when the victim was a white woman. It took them no time to find someone to bring to justice. Are our people not worth the utilization of the same resources to bring their murderers to justice?

When people ask why Black people do not trust the police, the answers are all written in blood or behind prison walls. When you look at all the corruption police departments across the country have taken part in as it relates to Black people, you would think society would understand. Why would I believe you are going to make sure the people who are killing us are brought to justice when you are killing us, too? Nevertheless, this is a relationship that needs to improve by leaps and bounds.

Here are a few things I believe need to happen so there can be a decrease in unsolved murders:

We need to get back to having neighborhood police officers. We need police officers who look like the people they serve the most. We need officers who are not afraid to get out of their police car without pulling out their guns first. When officers talking to people in the neighborhoods become a normal thing, then citizens talking to the police about serious matters won’t seem so strange or as dangerous.

IMPD, you can’t send the message of not caring to these streets. In most cases, your best allies are the people in the community. You need us just as much as we need you. Homicide detectives, answer your phone as best you can. Make a return phone call in at least 24 hours to let the family know the case still matters to you. If there is nothing else you can do, tell them that. Express to the family what you feel is necessary to crack the case, and let them help you.

We need to communicate and engage ourselves with IMPD. I know it may be a challenge, but it’s necessary. If we do our part, and they do theirs, I believe we will see a change.

If neither of us do our part, we will come to the conclusion that we are happy dying and they are happy seeing us kill ourselves.

Gregory Meriweather is the host of The Expo Show, and Chief Executive Officer at Black on Black LLC.

Now That you are Standing


Written by Gregory Meriweather @RadioBlackOn

July 14, 2016

In the midst of a great speech during the BET Awards, our dear brother, Jesse Williams, has Black people all over the country hyped. The crowd at the awards ceremony was standing on their feet as this brother went on telling the world what many national and local leaders have been saying for years, but have not seen the results that they so desire to see.

Yes, I thought the speech was incredible. I also wished it was the last thing said at the awards ceremony, because I watched “us” get right back into reckless mode when the show progressed.  I must say I am not a fan of BET. I believe the network has gotten away from being a network that was intended to support Black healing, education, empowerment and development when Robert Johnson created it in 1980, and the network only aired for two hours. By 1985, BET became the first Black-controlled company to be on the New York Stock Exchange.  Bob Johnson eventually sold BET to Viacom, and the rest is history.

In spite of the speech being on BET, I must applaud the media for giving the speech life beyond BET. As I listened to the words from Jesse Williams, my energy level rose. As he continued, my emotion became overwhelmed because of all the things we need to work on.  He did speak on the oppression of Black people, but he also spoke about our own personal responsibilities.

When Williams said, “Now, this award – this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country – the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.” I wanted to shout, because there are so many Black people who don’t believe a “system” exists.  

Why is it that we cannot come together, and make the changes that are necessary for our people? Can this speech that was given at the BET Awards be the speech that sparks the new civil rights movement in America?

Black people all over the country have been talking about this amazing moment. There were celebrities and fans alike, standing on their feet.  As I looked at the crowd, I thought about all the things that have been said by Dr. Umar Johnson, Dr. Claude Anderson, Minister Louis Farrakhan and a host of others. All that I could think was, “Are they really listening?”  I so badly pray that they were, because it would be one of the most hype wastes of time that we have seen in a long time.

If the Black people fail to do something after this speech, it will resemble what true activists face every time they try to make a difference.  The mainstream has such a strong pull, that we tend to forget what good is, altogether. How do you think a pastor feels when he has delivered a powerful message where people stand to their feet, but when the call to discipleship takes place, no one takes the message and applies it to real life action? He is somewhat heartbroken because he knows that there is someone in the crowd that needed to move on the message.

We have to get busy.  We need to hear the words that were said by this young man, and hold them near and dear to our hearts. I understand that in our history, Black people had to deal with a lot of abuse when we stood up for our rights. I also believe that if we don’t do anything about it, then we will become more abused than ever, and in a more strategic way.

The question that I will continue asking is, “Now that you are standing, what are you going to do?” At the BET awards, there were a lot of people in the crowd, and even more watching on T.V. The people in the crowd looked as if they were in total shock. The people who were at home sent out “Jesse William For President” posts on Facebook. There is a big difference from being an activist and actor. Jesse Williams is both. An activist is real. An actor pretends to be real. When Jesse Williams received his award, he went from actor to activist.

On that night, the same thing happened to you. When you heard the speech, did you become an actor or an activist? Were you pretending to believe what was said or were you just pretending to look the part because so many people said that it was the thing to do? Only time will tell how effective this speech really was. Since you are standing and hyped, please make the decision to be an activist, not an actor.

Greg Meriweather is the host of The Expo Show and the Chief Executive Officer of Black On Black LLC.

Where Have the Rows Taken Us?

In the midst of all the murder, hatred, and crime going on in the African-American community, my mind began to wonder what has led our people to such a dark place? Of course, I immediately began to think about slavery, but that wasn’t enough. There is something that is so imbedded in our culture, that we are having a hard time seeing what it is, and since we are struggling to see it, it is even more difficult to fix it.

What could it be that has us lacking concern for our fellow men and women? Why are we killing each other at a rate of extinction? Historians will say that we were taught to hate ourselves through slavery. I agree, but is that it? Some would say that the Willie Lynch letter played a role then, and is still significantly important now.

That could very well be true, but what causes me to not care enough about what is going on with the person who lives right next to me?

What causes us not to care about the less fortunate African-Americans in our communities? Mamie Till said it best when she said, “Two months ago I had a nice apartment in Chicago. I had a good job. I had a son. When something happened to the Negroes in the South I said, `That’s their business, not mine.’ Now I know how wrong I was. The murder of my son has shown me that what happens to any of us, anywhere in the world, had better be the business of us all.” Even though many of us remember the story of Emmett Till, it has not been impactful enough to make us change. But why?

We have seen numerous murders of our people by the hands of white supremacists, and law enforcement alike. We now have white supremacy rearing its ugly head again, and yet we cannot seem to come together. Where did this stronghold come from?

I began to think deeper, and now I can say that I may have the answer. It was the rows. Yes, the rows of cotton picked by our ancestors during slavery. We were living together. We were in bondage together. Other than being separated by way of being sold, the rows became the way of developing village people into individuals.

When our people were working the cotton fields of the South, we did not realize the lasting impact that slavery would have on us. We did not know the fear that was bestowed upon our people. We did not understand what cultural behaviors would be lost, nor did we understand the new culture that was being birthed.

Imagine yourself at the start of a row of cotton. What is the goal?

The goal is to pick as much cotton as possible to make rate. You, and every other slave has a responsibility to your own row. You are also individually responsible for the punishment of not making rate. So by the end of the day, the master is now taking tally of your daily picks. One by one he is counting the weight of your bags. Whomever had the lowest amount, and whomever did not make rate, were then punished by way of the master’s whip. When this was all taking place, I am sure their minds were transforming as well. For every lash across the back, that person was becoming more and more of an individually focused person. Competing against their own people as a means of survival was birthed, and still lives today. Some may ask, “Why didn’t they work together to cover whatever the overall final weight needed to be?”

This was all a part of the plan. Could they have worked together to get the necessary end result? Yes, they could have, but this would have been building people who worked together, as opposed to working as individuals. Learning to work together for the common good of all would have been dangerous to the powers that be. If we could work together, then freedom would become inevitable.

Fast forward to 2017, and you will see where the rows of the cotton fields have taken African-Americans. We have become self-serving people. We are people who focus on what it is that we want, need, and desire as individuals. Even when it comes down to matters that challenge our moral responsibilities, we fail. When someone kills our children, we go down our row, and say, “That has nothing to do with me.” Some of our rows look like higher education, better neighborhoods, higher salaries, better social groups, etc. Yet while we are going down our rows as fast as we can, we don’t dare to look up, and see who is struggling. We won’t take a little bit out of our “bags” to help someone make “rate,” even if we are well above the standard. We stopped being family. We stopped being tribal. We stopped being village people who cared for one another. We are no longer inseparable. We have accepted the role, and our row, while hoping to never feel the lash of the master’s whip on our backs. We have become immune to our own collective demise. We don’t mind watching our brothers and sisters fall, or fail. When we do, we somehow look at our own people and do not see ourselves. We must change this behavior if we ever plan on being impactful as a race.

Is your row important? Yes, but not more important than your brother or sister. We can make rate by working together. One thing is certain, they could not have whipped all of us. That would have made for bad business then, and it makes for bad business now. So why not come together, and collectively win? There will be individuals who disagree with this, but we can’t worry about them. As you go down your row, raise your head, look around, and see who is not making rate, then help them. This can look like advice, a phone call, a connection to a job, constructive criticism, or even just telling them the truth. If you want to see something great take place in the African-American community, learn to work together for the good of the whole, and not just for the good of yourself.

Gregory Meriweather is the CEO of Black on Black Network, talk show host, writer, and public speaker. email: gmeriweather1@gmail.com booking: info@blackonblack.network