Conrad Murray Junior. This is the new nickname I get for being the “hardest working woman at the VOA” today. A client who has been begging me for a phone call (tall white women are his “thing,” he says) asked once again for me to spare some time so he can wine and dine me. I explained, again, that I’m not interested in investing my time in this area right now, which caused him to turn to the staff nearby and complain about how I don’t want to have dinner with a black man.
It’s all about race, even when I don’t make it that way.
Somehow things turned to my conviction and the staff mentioned I was involved with a birth.
“Did you cut the cord?” someone asked.
The fellah shrugged. Apparently cutting the cord was proof I’m a felon.
It didn’t dawn on me until afterward that I actually DIDN’T cut this particulary baby’s cord. Se la vie. I had already earned the Conrad Jr. title.
Earlier on this morning, while walking to the shelter, Eric asked me what I thought about the verdict. My response came through shivering lips since the temperatures on skid row have now plummeted into the forties.
“I don’t know. The whole thing is complicated. But I do know that the video of the judge reading the verdict and the clerk announcing it… the video of the cheering crowd in response… it made me feel sick.” I’m sure my face demonstrated the terror and grief that rushes through my body any time I remember that moment in my life when a jury of people who know nothing about midwifery found me guilty of a felony.
“Yeah, what people don’t seem to remember is that Dr. Murray and Jackson were friends. I imagine it hurt the doctor to see his friend die. People forget that. They forget what he might be feelin.”
“Perhaps it’s still too close to my own trial date.” I gulp hard here, remembering that Dr. Murray faces four years in prison, max, while I faced three. My body shudders again, remember the stress of awaiting my sentencing date. Each day more excruciating than the last.
There is some level of projected understanding beneath Eric’s tough exterior that feels like he’s been where I’m at. I wish I knew why. I haven’t known many people who have crossed that line through the looking glass. The white rabbit isn’t really all that exciting and most people who’ve actually BEEN there don’t necessarily want to relive the horrors.
But I do. I want to talk and paint and scream it out all over anyone who will listen. I want people to KNOW what real judgement feels like so they learn to protect others from it when it isn’t warranted.
I had lunch with a couple who lost their children a long time ago, despite the fact that they have had their charges dropped. The system still has their children locked away from them. Innocent parents being punished for not being typical parents. They have lost everything in their quest to regain their babies. They are now living on skid row, in a shelter just up the street. So strange to sit across from intelligent, hardworking people, who are forced into subjection by the judgement of a handful of childless social workers. Judgement of victimless crimes is a foe of true liberty.