The Real Reason Michael Dunn is going to Jail

By: Eris Zion Venia Dyson
Twitter/IG/Tumblr: @eZvenia


I was devastated last night. I laid in my bed, fighting back tears, to frustrated to eat, watch the All-Star Weekend festivities, or even conjure up enough strength to get an episode of House of Cards in. My fiancé saw that I was inconsolable. I had to sit with the Michael Dunn verdict on my heart.

Today I sat in the car in the parking lot of a grocery store with my sister after church. She told me that she was waiting to hear about my reaction to the Michael Dunn verdict last night. She wasn’t sure if I had heard the word or not… until she saw my post that said:

  1. I’m angry.
  1. I’ll probably never participate in a march again. They’ve out-stayed their welcome, are ineffective, and rarely solve anything in the 21st century.
  1. I just had a conversation with my womb about ‘Y’ chromosomes. And to think twice about bearing black boys on this soil.
  1. It’s been a long time since I’ve tried to scrub the blackness off my flesh. I may try tonight.
  1. I rarely approach things I fear.
  1. I’m not changing my profile pic. (Refer to #3)
  1. White people should talk to white people about how they as a community innately fear blackness.

We spoke candidly about our confusion, about our fear for my nephew (her son) who was sleeping soundly in the back seat. We rolled through the verdict out loud to see if we had missed something. Dunn had been convicted in three counts of attempted murder, but when it came to Murder in the First Degree, the jury could not come to a consensus.

So my sister, Eriane Dyson, said, “he’s going to jail, not because he killed Jordan Davis, but because he DIDN’T kill the other three boys in the car.”

Well I’ll be damned. It makes perfect sense. Michael Dunn is going to jail for doing a half assed job of executing Black youth. Had the other three died, Dunn would be a free man right now!

Dunn said…  “My intent was to stop the attack, not necessarily end a life, it just worked out that way.” I keep staring at that phrase “ not necessarily.” Some of the synonyms for necessarily being:  unavoidably, inevitably, certainly. But when you pick up a gun, decide to fire it, the inevitable indeed happens.

Dunn didn’t shoot warning shots into the ground, or into the air. Dunn didn’t engage in fisticuffs. He sprayed a vehicle with bullets, gingerly left the scene all the while patting his self on the back for teaching those Black boys a lesson.

The lesson “worked out that way” because the American curriculum states that Black bodies have no value.

Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams makes it plain by saying “[Black men are] victims of a fantasy. This fantasy of what the Black body does and can do has become more importantly than the reality and we pay for it with our lives.” He goes on to say: “The idea of feeling threatened is not the same thing as being threatened. We pretend that it is, but it’s not.” And finally for those who keep saying this isn’t a “race thing” Williams states: “This idea of having to explain why it’s racial, while we’re standing in our own blood is silly. It’s racial because it doesn’t happen to White people.”

And to white people, and maybe some people of color who may be seething at this particular narrative, the solution is not being “color-blind”. I need you to see us. See these young Black boys with their black skin who wear their pants off their asses, blasting their music, freaking their black & mild’s, standing in line for Jordan’s, head phones on, rattling off curse words and “nigga” as they please… I want you to see them. Acknowledge them. Love them. Lift them up. Let them be who they are.

Believe it or not they are not, nor have they ever been the problem.

Imagine the outcome had Michael Dunn walked up to the young men and said, “Hi, excuse me. Could you turn your music down a little bit, I’m having a hard time hearing mine. Thanks so much! Have a great day!”

When you acknowledge the humanity of a person, chances are their humanity acknowledges you as well. And if your idea of humanity doesn’t include a person because of characteristics that you deem “uncomfortable” maybe it’s you that missing the humanity.


Sweet Sixteen Lessons: to my Cousin Trinity on her 16th Birthday

Dear Trinity,

These are all the things I needed to hear and to learn at your age…

1. Don’t rush.
Be a child for as long as your mother will let you. Because once it gets real… It never gets unreal again.

2. Love who you are.
It is the most difficult thing I have ever done. And I have to learn how to love me every single day. It’s a battle I don’t always win. But every day I fight for it.

3. Honor who you were.
You won’t always be proud of your past. But honor it. Learn from it. Grow from it.

4. Welcome who you are becoming.
It’s a beautiful adventure coming into your own. You have the opportunity be exactly who you want to be whenever you want to be it.

5. Take the best. Leave the rest.
The world can be a gorgeous mess… Take from it only what is meant for Trinity.

6. The more irrational your mother sounds. The more right she is.
You don’t understand their craziness for about another decade or so. Just nod your head… Do what she says. And know that it’ll make sense down the line. And when it finally becomes clear. Call her and tell her thank you.

7. Start saving money now.
Even if its $1 a week. Put it away and don’t touch it til you’re 30.

8. Get a hobby that will keep money in your pocket
If you don’t do anything else. Make sure you can always make money. Jobs & student loan refunds come & go. But your hands will sustain you when all else fails.

9. Don’t let people borrow money.
Period. Ever.

10. Figure out what you are passionate about. And live your life for that passion.
Knowing what you love. What you’re good at. What you’re great at now will save you time down the line. Walk in the direction of your dreams.

11. Your first love won’t be your last love.
Your 2nd & 3rd probably won’t be either. Know you will never have a broken heart. Your heart will hurt and it will bend. But you are built so strong… It will never break. I promise.

12. Your body is yours and yours alone.
It is your fortress. It is your home. Be smart about who you let in.

13. Serve those in need.
The greatest gifts are received are when you are helping others.

14. Be the best.
Think like a winner & do what you know is right to do.

15. Your family is always near.
And we love you to life.

16. Trinity. Remember your name.
Know that when someone speaks your name they are honoring the Father the Son & the Holy Spirit. God above all will be your refuge. Live in purpose.

Happy birthday baby girl.




today imani. the last day of kwanzaa. its interesting how this principal set on the last day of kwanzaa, but the 1st day of the year. i’m certain its not coincidental. today… on the first day of 2012 I pray we all foster a greater sense of faith… not only in the most high, but in ourselves. belief starts from the inside out. i say often every breath is a miracle. if stay grateful for the smaller things that make great things happen (like breathing) its easy to have faith that the “big” things will turn out amazing. be blessed on this last day of kwanzaa. ❤


today kuumba. creativity. if you have noticed, creativity lurks at every corner. there are certain things we do as people that is sheer genius! before the whole “go green” craze, my grandmother took old syrup & dish washing liquid bottles cleaned them out and made them into water bottles for me, my sister, and brothers. she took old t-shirts and turned them into dusting clothes. she took old broom sticks and used them to anchor her tomatoes in the garden. | we complain a lot about what we don’t have & what we can’t do. but there comes a point where we have to be great stewards of the resources in front of us! get creative! be blessed on this 6th day of kwanzaa ❤


today ujamaa. the old saying about TEAM is together everyone achieve’s more. we live in a society where support of small business (black or not) is extremely difficult because of monopolistic corporations. I challenge you all to not only START the businesses of your dreams… but SUPPORT others! Seek them out! Build relationships… hell… barter even! and if you need a place to start… Strange7Fruit <– start by checking out my earrings & accessories line. Let’s keep it funky buy any means necessary. Dedicate a portion of your disposable income to small business. Be blessed on this 4th day of Kwanzaa. ❤


Today Kujichagulia. At 14 years old… i added “Zion” into my name after reading Psalm 102:13. “You will arise and have mercy on Zion, for the time to favor her, yes the set time has come” I felt as though it was my time for favor… it didn’t happen immediately, but I was like the Jews fleeing Egypt, on a journey waiting on getting to the promise land. at almost 14 years later, I still haven’t arrived, but I’m determined to keep going. Today is for SELF-DETERMINATION. Invoke who you are… call it by name… and be that change you wish to see in yourself. Be blessed on this 2nd day of Kwanzaa. ♥


how wondrous umoja is. i think about corporate unity often… but the unity i’m speaking of… is the unity of self & spirit. 2011 has been a journey towards aligning who i am, and who i serve which is the Most High. #TeamUmoja Be blessed on this 1st day of Kwanzaa! ♥