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Jewish Journal

What Really Happened to Alfred Wright?

by Ilana Angel

March 11, 2014 | 4:27 pm

I have been following the story of Alfred Wright of Jasper, Texas with sadness and discomfort. It is sad beyond measure to think of how this man died, and the three young sons left without a father. It is also uncomfortable to talk about as we are dealing with a lot of opinions and varying accounts of what happened to Mr. Wright. I wrote about the story last week and there have been a lot of interesting responses to it. I have heard from many and been frightened by a few, but I keep writing.

People have reached out to thank me for sharing the story and taking a stand in saying I believe it was a modern day lynching. Others have written to say I am a bad writer, spreading lies, and unwilling to accept the fact Mr. Weight was an addict who died of an accidental drug overdose. Anyone who argues this is not a racially charged case is in denial. Racism can be quiet and those attacking my writing are doing it from the shadows. Hate is strong and accusations are rampant.

It is telling that those people who say I am wrong and in over my head use no names and make up email addresses. Are they trying to intimidate me? If these people are so certain I am wrong, why are they not sharing the information they claim to have with the authorities? Of, if as they claim I am not privy to the information, why are they aware of the truth and not the authorities? Is the reason I am on their radar at all because I said the Sherriff could possibly be covering something?

I am not an investigative reporter. I write about my opinions, my life, and my worldview as a Jew and a single mother. I am of the opinion that Alfred Wright was murdered. The fact that his ear was cut off is a clear message from the killers that the painful history of blacks in America continues and is not a thing of the past. I am simply sharing my opinion. That is what I do and this is America, where I am allowed to say, think, and write what I want. There is no proof I am wrong in how I view this.

I have been asked to consider a lot of information that has been sent to me, but rather than address those questions myself, I will ask Alfred’s family about it. Alfred’s uncle, Mr. Tony Cooper, reached out to me to thank me for writing about this story. He is a lovely man who has been working hard to get answers. He has devoted so much of his time to the case that he was recently let go from his job. His family wants answers and I admire his dedication to getting justice for Alfred.

I did not know Alfred Wright. I am just a woman who has watched the news, read the stories, talked to the family, and has an opinion.  I am not from the south, African American, or a racist. I have a deep-rooted belief in God. I hold onto my faith in times of joy and sorrow, peace and worry. I pray everyday and I talk to God everyday. I do not judge people on the color of their skin, how they worship, how much money they have, or what they can do for me. I have no tolerance for ignorance or injustice.

I have been getting hate mail that attacks me as a mother, woman, writer, and Jew. I respond to some, ignore most, and marvel at the level of anti-Semitism and racism that hide in the shadows waiting for an opportunity to come out. I am looking forward to meeting Mr. Wright’s family and allowing their voices to be heard. If I am silent, I am weak. If I am silent, I am scared. If I am silent, I am contributing to hate. It is my obligation as a human being to make the world a better place.

People can say many things about me, but do not say I am not a good mother or Jew. You can hate my writing, but I assure you it has everything to do with your taste in reading and nothing to do with my faith. I look forward to learning about Alfred and my goal is to give him the respect he is not getting in death. I believe this man was murdered and we should talk about it, not staying quiet because of fear. I will pray because I know good things come when I keep the faith.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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