How the Murder of Emmett Till can Still Change the World Decades Later

As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King on this day, many states around the country are once again fighting for justice, freedom and civil rights. Not to dismiss the battle that fueled MLK’s passions and the injustices faced by African Americans in that time, but if anything, today is a day to learn from all of it. People of all races are in a civil rights battle today in America. Earlier today, law abiding Virginia citizens  exercised their right to protest as they did so peacefully to protect the amendment rights they are in jeopardy of losing. 

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Dr. Martin Luther King

In recent months, Americans all over the country have been protesting, fighting for their freedoms and liberties, against vaccine mandates that remove their religious exemptions and force medical mandates on our children to attend public school. Some mandates have also been set for adults, depending upon their career choices. Why are we trading our liberties for false security?

But back to Emmett Till. In researching and writing about our current climate in this country, I was reminded of this very public story in 1955. I’ll give you a refresher or a lesson in case you never heard of Emmett Till.

In August, 1955, Emmett Till, a 14 year old black boy from Chicago, was visiting family in Mississippi. On August 24, Till went into Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market in Money, Mississippi, to buy candy.  Carolyn Bryant, a white woman who ran the store with her husband Roy, alleged that the young boy whistled at her. This accusation, in a time when prejudice against blacks was prevalent throughout the South (still highly segregated), sealed Till’s fate.

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Emmett Till

August 28, Roy Bryant and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, abducted Till from his uncle’s home in the middle of the night. The men were arrested but maintained their innocence. On August 31, Till’s decomposed body was found in the Tallahatchie River. Till’s mother held an open-casket funeral for her son, in order to bring attention to his murder. It was estimated that 50,000 mourners were in attendance.  Jet magazine published graphic photos of his corpse.

The kidnapping and murder trial of Bryant and Milam was held in Sumner, Mississippi. Five days later, the all-white, all-male jury acquitted the men of murder after deliberating for little over an hour. That acquittal sparked international outrage and ignited the civil rights movement.

The two men later died of cancer without ever being brought to justice for the murder. In 2004, the case was reopened by the Justice Department. It has been alleged that others had been involved in the murder, some of whom were still alive. Unfortunately, after having Till’s body exhumed, no further charges were brought and the case was closed in 2007.  In 2017, Bryant made a stunning admission. She had lied. Her claims that Till grabbed her inappropriately (in court) and whistled at her were in fact, not true. Her white lie killed an innocent black boy.

Till was brutally beaten for this lie. His eyes had been gouged out, he’d been shot in the head. His body was then strapped to a 75-pound cotton gin fan with barbed wire and dumped into the river.  All for whistling at a white woman. Worse, for being falsely accused of whistling at a white woman.

But what was the result of this horrific crime? No one was prosecuted and the murderers were never held accountable. Instead, the world saw graphic photos of this boy’s lifeless body in his coffin in various publications.

Instead, the Civil Rights movement came to life. The loss of this young boy, for a lie, because of the extreme racism of our country, led to the birth of a powerful change. MLK and others like him rose up to fight the injustice of segregation, racism and hate. Laws changed. Minds changed. America changed.

Most often, the things we really need to see, as brutal and raw as Till’s beaten body, are hidden from us. But what if there are more lessons, more justice we can serve in honor of this senseless tragedy and others?

What if the same media outlets that forced those raw images into the faces of the ignorant and racist America did the same today? What if the media stopped covering up for an industry that is injuring and killing our children without repercussions, without liability? What if our media did it’s job and reported the stories of the thousands of lives destroyed by vaccine injury? What if people were told the truth and properly educated on vaccines, given the informed consent they are actually entitled to?

Till’s mother, in the wake of losing her child, made a decision that forever changed the course of history in this country. She let her grief fuel her desire for her son to make a difference in his death. She publicly shared the horrific photos of his beaten body and in doing so, became an advocate for civil rights.

 

Parents all over the world have faced horrible losses of their children to vaccine injuries. They are speaking out, speaking up and bravely fighting an industry with limitless resources, risking humiliation for their stories, in attempt to change the world and be advocates for other children. We’ve become so trusting of an industry that is in the business of making money off our illnesses, all because of a media that also makes profit off the same industry’s advertisements. What if, like these brave parents, our media stepped up, spoke out and shared the dark side of vaccines? What if they shared the brutal and painful photos and videos of these children suffering, dying?

Wouldn’t that be an amazing thing? It could even set in motion another great and historical movement that saves lives.

For those of you who don’t know, there is a Vaccine Injury Fund in the US that has to date, paid $4.2 billion dollars to families in settlements for vaccine injuries and deaths. “The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a national vaccine safety surveillance program co-sponsored by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The purpose of VAERS is to detect possible signals of adverse events associated with vaccines.”  – Source, FDA.

“The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986 (42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-1 to 300aa-34) was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan as part of a larger health bill on Nov 14, 1986. NCVIA’s purpose was to eliminate the potential financial liability of vaccine manufacturers due to vaccine injury claims in order to ensure a stable market supply of vaccines, and to provide cost-effective arbitration for vaccine injury claims.”

Sadly, many still promote vaccines as “safe and effective” although the evidence shows otherwise. The US Supreme Court declared vaccines to be “unavoidably unsafe” during a hearing regarding a vaccine injured child, Hannah Bruesewitz. Source – US Supreme Court

While I could write chapters upon chapters about this very sensitive topic, instead I will leave you with a request to research for yourself. Whatever your thoughts or beliefs, research as if you are trying to prove or disprove your theory. Remember the young boy whose brave mother chose to make sure his death was not in vain. When you see parents standing bravely in the cold, fighting for your rights to safe vaccines, informed consent and your constitutional rights, think of how brave they are in the face of their own pain, to fight to protect your child, even if you don’t know it yet.

In NJ, the parents of Holly Stavola have advocated for other families since losing their daughter. Holly passed away from adverse reactions to her second MMR shot. Holly’s Law was passed unanimously in NJ in honor of her. Robin Stavola is still an active advocate today for vaccine safety. NJ is also one of many states trying to remove religious and many medical exemptions to mandate vaccines for public school attendance.

Also in NJ, the parents of Nicholas Catone have been advocating since his passing in 2017 from vaccines.  MMA fighter Nick and his wife, Marjorie, a nurse, have spent the past few years learning, educating and fighting for safer vaccines.

In California, Karen Kain has been advocating for safer vaccines for decades. At just six weeks old, her daughter Lorrin suffered a permanent injury from a vaccine “hot lot.” Lorrin succumbed to her injuries at age 15. In 1998, Kain was awarded compensation in the vaccine injury court. Karen has since written a book, done numerous interviews and travels the world to advocate for families and our rights to safer vaccine products.

These stories are just a few of thousands I have heard directly from parents who have lost children from vaccine injury. Now in the wake of new laws being introduced and passed in some states that eliminate parent’s rights to say no to these vaccines that come with such heavy risk, we are seeing a rise up of citizens who are once again fighting to retain the rights others have sacrificed their lives for.  So many mothers, like Mamie Till, find themselves grieving the unimaginable loss of their children, fighting for justice that many never come but also turning their loss into a life of advocacy for others.

In closing, I’ll let Martin Luther King’s words speak for those still fighting for a variety of rights, in America and all over the world. I’d like to believe if he were still alive today, he’d still be heading up the fight for civil rights and justice for all.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
The time is always right to do what is right.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

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