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Unisex Baseball Tee: June Jordan #80

Unisex Baseball Tee: June Jordan #80

$32.00

Tell me something
what you think would happen if
everytime they kill a black boy
then we kill a cop
everytime they kill a black man
then we kill a cop

—June Jordan, "Poem About Police Violence"

Legendary poet and activist June Jordan, who grew up in Bed-Stuy, wrote these incendiary lines in protest of the police murder of Arthur Miller, a beloved Black businessman and community leader in Crown Heights, in June of 1978. Miller, who was attempting to help his brother in a dispute with the police over a purportedly suspended driver's license, was choked to death by a nightstick. “Mr. Miller was the first ‘I can’t breathe’ in modern times,” said Borough President Eric Adams. Miller's death sparked a summer of protests, but predictably, none of the officers involved were indicted, which prompted Jordan to write,

I lose consciousness of ugly bestial rabid
and repetitive affront as when they tell me
18 cops in order to subdue one man
18 strangled him to death in the ensuing
     scuffle (don't
you idolize the diction of the powerful:
     subdue and
scuffle my oh my) and that the murder
that the killing of Arthur Miller on a Brooklyn
street was just a "justifiable accident" again
(again)

We celebrate June Jordan with #80 to commemorate the publication of "Poem About Police Violence" in her pivotal 1980 collection Passion (dedicated to "Everybody scared as I used to be"), one of the essential poems of Brooklyn and one of the most incisive protest poems in American letters, speaking out against a problem that sadly remains all too familiar today.

Product Details

Screen printed locally at Pete's Print Shop in Greenpoint on Alternative Apparel keeper vintage jersey tees for a luxurious softness. 50% cotton / 50% polyester. Bound collar and blind stitching on sleeves and bottom hem. Tear-away tag.

Color: black.