Black teens detained for selling water. You may recall recently in the news a group of teens selling water and being detained and handcuffed for doing so. On Thursday, June 22nd five young Black men were stopped by the United States Park Police officers for illegally selling water on the National Mall.
They were released to their guardians with a verbal warning against selling, vending or whatever you choose to call it in prohibited areas. No arrests were made. Why such a dramatic move to handcuff a group of young people simply for breaking a citation? Was it due to the color of their skin? Most likely yes. Just as council member Allen questioned, if these were a group of cute little girls selling lemonade or girl scout cookies would the police have handcuffed them the say way.
The black teens detained for selling water hit the headlines like crazy. Imagine the image of white little girls handcuffed and sat on the ground. Not a pretty picture right? But somehow the visual of black men being handcuffed is not hard to look at. For far too many find this to be normal and okay. The fear of the black man is real. The fear of our young black men and our black male babies is real.
“I can’t help but think how the reaction by these same officers might have varied if different children had set up a quaint hand-painted lemonade stand on the same spot. While still the same violation of selling a beverage without proper permits and licences, I doubt we would have seen little girls in pigtails handcuffed on the ground,” Council member Allen stated in part of the letter. “
Out of negative situations positive things can happen. The black teens detained for selling water cause a social media uproar after the public learned about the treatment of the young black men vending bottled water. This story went viral reaching thousands, including Raymond Bell.
Bell, the founder of HOPE Project saw the incident on the internet and was was moved to help the the young teens as hard working young men. “I’m an entrepreneur myself, and I love seeing young people having an interest in working for themselves,” Bell told WJLA.
Bell has decided to train Nolan White and Devin Gatewood for their new summer jobs through the HOPE Project..The Hope Project is a technology training program that provides technical training and development to young adults.
STL Black Biz will follow up on this wonderful story.