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After a couple of weeks of passive investigation into the mysterious death of 15-year-old Quawan ‘Bobby’ Charles in rural Louisiana, his family has grown outraged with the lack of transparency and care being rendered by local authorities.
“People are angry. People are upset,” Charles’ cousin Celina Charles told “CBS This Morning.”
The anger from his family and community is more than justifiable, as the case appeared to be headed towards total neglect had it not been for an advocate-led national outcry for answers.
What we know is that Charles left his family’s home with Janet Irvin and her 17-year-old son, an alleged friend of Charles, on October 30. What we also know is that three days later, Charles’ body was found lifeless in a sugar cane field, his face barely recognizable.
As the investigation continues into the details of this tragedy, I am left with my own line of questioning as to how a teenage Black boy leaves his home with a white peer and white adult and turns up bludgeoned and deceased.
Can anyone answer the following:
1.How many hours does it take for a Black child to be worthy of an Amber Alert?
2. How many decades of distance was necessary for ‘Bobby’ Charles death not to mirror Emmett Till’s?
3. Where are the experts in translating the silence of sugar cane? The south has provided too much quiet earth as an alibi when Black bodies have gone missing for no one to have learned the language of the land.
4. How does a mother’s imagination reassemble the parts of her child’s shattered face to undoubtedly recognize it as the one that came from her?
5. Can you still call a hate crime a hate crime when the actions are aligned with a region’s history? Or do you simply call it a social norm?
6. What do you tell 21st-century Baldwin, Louisiana Black children about the ghost of racial terrors past when one of their appears becomes an apparition during the era of Tik Tok?
7. Why is this still our reality?
To advocate for transparency from law enforcement on behalf of Quawan ‘Bobby’ Charles, contact the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s office at (337) 369-2485. Iberia Parish is the community where his body was discovered. Their law enforcement agencies need to be held accountable for providing answers to this tragedy.
About the Author
Donney Rose is a poet, essayist, Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow, advocate, and Chief Content Editor at The North Star. He believes in telling how it is and how it should be.