Several weeks ago, the Loop reached out to East Texans through social media with this statement and question: The Tyler Loop wants to hear from you. What do you wish people knew about being Black in East Texas?
Thankfully, we received numerous responses. I shared these with local artist Caden Zips, who took the words of Charles Parkes III, Catreva Beasley and Day-Shawn Miller as inspiration for his drawings. My hope is that these powerful words, in collaboration with artistic images, create a medium through which East Texans can develop deeper understanding of our shared history and present challenges.
Charles Parkes III
“Where do I begin? Remembering not being allowed to play with white children when my mother enrolled me in the first integrated day care in Palestine, TX; the “school yard rules” I had to abide by in elementary; being told I’m going to end up with a “track record” in my late teens/early adult years; being told “we don’t listen to rap music,” when I asked if we could change radio stations where I worked at a law office, before I even said which station I was going to recommend. How about the number of times store loss prevention followed me around from the 1990s to the 2010s?”
“There is fear every time lights flash behind me, or I see cops approaching. I get concerned when I see cops pulling Black kids out of cars, lining them up to be searched — to find nothing. This should not be happening.”
“It doesn’t take three police cars to pull up on me for a traffic violation. It’s just me. One alone is terrifying enough. And yes, I am speaking from personal experience.”
Caden Zips is a Tyler native. A graduate of Robert E. Lee High School, will be attending the University of Texas at Austin in the fall as a major in studio art.
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