We’re coming up on the anniversary of August 16, 2013: the day that at least ten people were badly injured from the ceiling collapse at the I (eye) Street Gallery during the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ exhibit called “Go-Go Swing: Washington’s Unstoppable Beat.”
The lawyer I thought represented me stopped returning my phone calls in 2014, and the other people involved don’t mention it to me anymore. Maybe we have all just accepted the fact that no one is to be held responsible for our injuries. One of my friends, Reggie, had his head damn near split open. My ambulance partner, Brandi, got hit with something right square in the face. She and I caught up with Byron, his arm in a sling, at George Washington Hospital.
For the past year at least, I have seen several articles about Black people’s pain being treated differently than others’ by healthcare professionals. These articles suggest that this racism has actually helped us to avoid much of the opioid addiction plaguing white communities in the country. All of that has been very familiar to me over the past three years, like when I went through an initial emergency room visit, physical therapy, and at least one subsequent visit to a primary care physician, in severe pain, and looked into the eyes of healthcare professionals who treated me as if I were faking to get some drugs.
What I really wanted was compensation for my medical bills and the massage appointments I have to schedule in order to cope. I don’t need oxy… but some money to get massages would be really helpful. Even the people I work with still ask me from time to time, “How are you feeling today?” because they can tell that on some days, my shoulders tense up so much that they noticeably draw upwards into my neck. I’m a grad student, but I ain’t THAT stressed out.
My shoulders and neck are injured, and, I endure constant pain, and apparently… it’s no one’s fault. The last two blogs I wrote on this subject were written carefully, avoiding too many details, lest they would hurt my case against an unknown, unnamed, accountable entity that might compensate me for my medical bills. In those posts, I was still holding out hope that my lawyer would call me back and tell me that he had my back. Holding out hope for justice. Silly.
Could be worse, right? Freddie’s dead. We have video footage of ourselves being killed on camera, and then we suffer further trauma watching No One being held accountable. “All around the world, the same song.” My shoulders and neck shit is minor like a muhfuh.
Power to the people.
I am not complaining; I am still alive. Like Frankie Beverly sang, “I’m gonna spread my wings, yeah. And I’m gonna tell all I see. And these happy feelings… I’ll spread them all over the world.”
Even in this pain I have been carrying for three years now, I am HAPPY. I AM HERE. But I will remind as many people as I can, every year, what D.C. did NOT do in Summer 2013 or since. A gaggle of D.C.’s lawyers, non-profits, promoters, construction companies, and some more people have passed the buck back and forth for years while people suffer. But, this story ain’t unique. Every day, I’m just another person who was given the fuck-you finger by the people in charge.
That’s it. Until next year.