Transcript, Web links and Credits below.
Hey Everybody. It’s Friday, May 3, and today I have two stories to unpack and explain.
First, I need to tell you about a brilliant young brother in Maryland named Tyrique Hudson who was just murdered in what appears to be a hate crime right outside of his home. In the weeks before he was murdered, he attempted to file a protective order against his neighbor. But guess what? The judge denied it.
Next, I have some action steps for us to all take together on a peculiar case of injustice in Tennessee where a conservative staffer of the legislature just tried to frame a young activist with fake evidence of a crime. Crazy right?
Let’s dig in.
This is Shaun King and you are listening to (THE BREAKDOWN)!
My wife and I have 5 kids. In just a few months, it’s hard to believe, but our oldest will turn 20-years-old. And this first story I need to break down hits so close to home because it’s about a 22-year-old brother named Tyrique Hudson. His friends called him TJ. He literally just got his first apartment on his own after graduating from North Carolina A&T.
He was brilliant. He completed a 5-year engineering program in 4 years and was a gifted software engineer. Everybody who knew him, loved him. He was his mother’s only child. Like so many Black mothers, she kept him as close to her as humanly possible her entire life — taking him to church and showering him with love. His friends describe him as humble and gentle. He moved away this past year from North Carolina to Maryland after he was offered an engineering job in Annapolis. His supervisor Angela Shields said, “TJ was a bright, promising engineer. He had enthusiasm to tackle any assignment, incredible skill to solve any problem put in front of him and willingness to help anyone.”
And I have to break something down here for our listeners.
The energy and effort and dedication to raise a Black boy in the United States of America, and to see him through elementary school, where Black boys are suspended more than any other children in the nation, even though behavior patterns are the same. To see him through middle school and high school, where arrest rates are higher than every other child in the nation. Where — as we saw with young Lucca in Florida — police brutality becomes a painful reality. Where — as we saw with Trayvon Martin — racist confrontations become a painful reality. To raise a boy from birth, through elementary, middle, and high school, then get that young man to college safely, then through college with a degree, then get that young man hired by a top company in a nation that hires white men with criminal records at the same rate as Black men with college degrees and no criminal records — to get that young man all the way through college, and into a job, to move that brother out of the house, and up to a new state, is a painful, exhausting marathon that only some of my listeners will understand.
The fear, the worry, the concern, that racism, that mass incarceration, that police brutality, that gun violence might visit your baby boy at any moment is a uniquely Black experience. And for you to get your son all the way through that gauntlet, with pitfalls and traps all around him, to get him all the way to his first apartment, only for him to be confronted and murdered by a white bigot at home, I must admit, is about as deflating as anything I’ve heard in a very long time.
In August, TJ Hudson moved to Glen Burnie, Maryland to take that software engineering job in Annapolis. And he liked his apartment enough, but, this past February, when he was simply walking up the steps to his home, a mangy, middle-aged white man stared right at TJ in the hallway, and asked him if he lived there in the apartment. Then, looking TJ right in the eyes, said, “You knew this day was coming.” The man then made a motion with his own fingers that we’ve all seen before. The man did the neck slitting motion, looked at TJ, then walked on.
TJ called his dad, then called 911. TJ then took the extra step, on February 16, to file an emergency protective order against his neighbor. Three days later, the judge denied him. TJ and his family were so shook by the incident that they went ahead and prepared to move him out of the apartment, but the apartment complex then refused to let him out of the lease, in spite of the issue.
Then, sure enough, on the morning of April 15, 2019, at 7 A.M. in the morning as TJ was up bright and early to go to work, that old mangy ass white man, James Verombeck, who seems to have just been waiting for TJ to come out of the apartment, came right out of his apartment, and shot and killed TJ right there in the stairwell.
Just think for a moment if the judge had granted the protective order. If the apartment complex had allowed TJ out of his lease, he might be alive today.
In moments like this, I wish I could end it with some good news. I don’t have that, but at the end of this episode, I do have some action steps for us, OK?
And that takes me to our next story. (MUSIC Break)
Young activists across the country are the lifeblood of change. They fuel every movement for change. Always have. They are the protestors, the demonstrators, the rabblerousers, the marchers, who are confronting problematic people and corporations – often to their face — and telling them about themselves. They fuel the Black Lives Matter Movement. They fuel the environmental movements. They fuel the gun reform movement. Whatever movements we have, young people are always on the frontlines — pushing the envelope — and that’s exactly what’s been happening in Nashville, Tennessee, with activists pushing and demanding so many essential reforms.
And one of those activists is actually a seminary student, in grad school, at Vanderbilt Divinity School, named Justin Jones. Justin, after a protest of the Tennessee Speaker of the House Glen Casada, ended up actually getting banned from the Tennessee State Capitol. And as a part of that ban, he was not allowed to have any contact whatsoever with the Speaker of the House, Glen Casada.
And this is where it gets crazy. Justin was honoring the ban. Then, all of a sudden, the District Attorney of Nashville filed a motion against Justin Jones, the student, for sending emails to the Speaker of the House.
But here’s the thing — those emails were before the ban was issued. But they’ve been altered by the Speaker of the House and his staff to look like they took place after the ban. Yesterday a local news station confronted them on it.
Let me play you that clip.
Not only did the Speaker of the House and his staff alter the email from this young activist, they filed false reports based on their altered emails and have been sending overtly racist text messages to one another. And their fraudulent actions could literally send a young man to jail.
So let’s take some action steps together today ok?
(Action Steps Music)
Today I have three action steps for us to take, OK?
The first action step is for TJ Hudson — the young man who was murdered in Maryland. A petition has been created to have the judge who failed to grant the order of protection in this case removed from the bench. We will share the link to the petition on The Breakdown’s Twitter account and will send it directly to all of you on our email list as well. TJ’s murderer not only had a violent history but has had multiple protective orders filed against him in the past. Why was TJ’s order denied? And not only that but the judge in this case is currently being bounced around all over the state as Baltimore considers suspending her for something altogether different. If you can, please sign this petition with us.
The next two action steps are for us to provide some support for the young activist Justin Jones in Nashville. Heads need to roll, charges need to be filed, people need to lose their jobs over this. The Speaker of the House in Nashville literally had his office falsify evidence to get a young Black man sent to jail. So here’s what we’re going to do.
First — we need you to call the District Attorney’s Office in Nashville and demand that they drop these bogus charges against Justin Jones. The DA there is named Glenn Funk and his phone number is: (615) 862-5500. They need to drop these bogus charges and they need to file charges against the Chief of Staff of Glen Casada for falsifying these documents. That Chief of Staff’s name is: Cade Cothren. Let me repeat all of this for you ok?
Then our last action step for today is this:
Let’s bombard the Speaker of the House with phone calls and emails about this case. It’s Shameful and he needs to hear and feel the pressure from us. He needs to fire his Chief of Staff and he needs to publicly admit wrongdoing in this case. He also needs to explain the racist, bigoted text messages coming from his Senior Staff.
E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call him at (615) 741-4389.
Tweet him @glencasada.
Thank you all for making it all the way through this episode of The Breakdown!
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Take care everybody.
Produced by Willis Polk II
Additional production by Ryan “Kno” Wisler
Additional Instrumentation by: Christian Idris “Idrys” Shannon, Lance “Lance Fury” Powlis & Willie Eames
Additional Engineering by Amond “AJ” Jackson for Salem Psalms Library
Additional Vocals by Garnett “Natti” Bush
Scratches by Kenny “DJ FlipFlop” Vanderberg
Contains elements from:
“The Prodigal” by JustMe & “Still Motion” by Natti