Antwon Rose

Antwon Rose Jr had a million-dollar smile and a brain to match. The 17-year-old kid from Pittsburgh was the honor roll AP student all the teachers at Woodland Hills High School hoped to get in their classes. He spent his summers volunteering with Free Store 15104, a nonprofit organization that donated goods to community members in need – a job he got by interviewing in a three-piece suit to make a good impression. His work ethic so impressed the nonprofit’s director that she got Antwon an appearance in a campaign video for the mayor of Braddock during his bid for Governor. Antwon was also a skater, and when he wasn’t volunteering at Free Store, he was probably at the Switch & Signal Skate Park.

Antwon Rose Jr was murdered by police on June 19, 2018, for running away from them. Responding to reports of a drive-by shooting east of Pittsburgh, cops stopped a silver Chevy Cruze matching a description of the vehicle. The car was a jitney — an unlicensed taxi popular in the area — with two passengers: Antwon in the front seat, and another passenger in the back. As the cops handcuffed the driver, the two passengers opened their doors and bolted. They made it to the other side of the street when one cop – who had just been sworn into the department just a few hours prior – opened fire, shooting the unarmed Antwon in the back three times, killing him. He was 23 days from turning 18. (It would turn out that the other passenger was the drive-by shooter. He would be captured unharmed a week later.) The cop would be acquitted of all charges.

I AM NOT WHAT YOU THINK
–by Antwon Rose Jr, 2016
I am confused and afraid
I wonder what path I will take
I hear that there’s only two ways out
I see mothers bury their sons
I want my mom to never feel that pain
I am confused and afraid
I pretend all is fine
I feel like I’m suffocating
I touch nothing so I believe all is fine
I worry that it isn’t though
I cry no more
I am confused and afraid
I understand people believe I’m just a statistic
I say to them I’m different
I dream of life getting easier
I try my best to make my dream come true
I hope that it does
I am confused and afraid

Black lives matter.

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