Just days after Donald Trump’s election, in El Sobrante, Calif., about 20 miles north of San Francisco, something truly terrible happened. I honestly believe it must be viewed in the context of the wave of hate crimes that swept our nation immediately after Trump’s win. Except most of us are just now learning that it took place.
Will Sims, 28, an accomplished musician and vocalist, widely hailed as a gentle, peaceful, gifted soul, was murdered in a vicious hate crime. He wastargeted, robbed, beaten, then shot, and left on the street to die.When the police found him on the street on Nov. 12, he was already dead.
Police have openly stated that Sims was targeted by the three white men who killed him because he was black. Daniel Porter-Kelly, 31, of Richmond, has already been arrested and charged with murder, robbery, and a hate crime for targeting the young musician because of his race. The two additional white men who are wanted for the crime are still on the loose and expected to be armed and dangerous. The mother of one of the men was also arrested on suspicion of interfering with the investigation.
While many knew Sims as an accomplished pianist, he also played the guitar, saxophone, violinand was a respected singer with a deep, rich voice.
Of course, the questions about how this could’ve happened immediately became racist dog whistles. Did Sims have a criminal record? No.
On the day Will Sims was murdered, men, women and children of color, alongside Muslims and Jews, were all being targeted in waves of Donald Trump-inspired hate and bigotry. While police have not yet released any details on how they concluded that Sims was targeted because of his race, the fact that they charged one perpetrator with a racially-motivated hate crime makes clear they have evidence to prove it. Porter-Kelly was arrested on Nov. 16, why are we just now learning about this? Where is the national manhunt for the other suspects?
This wasn’t in the Deep South. This wasn’t during Jim Crow. No, this was in the Bay Area of California in the last days of 2016. As our nation continues to normalize bigotry by calling Neo-Nazis and white supremacists by new names like the “Alt-Right,” the effects of white supremacy are costing real people their lives.
On this past Monday evening, James Means, a black teenager was shot and killed in another apparent hate crime as a 62-year-old white man murdered him outside of a Dollar General Store.
The racially motivated murders of Will Sims and James Means should be gripping every headline in America right now. I do not believe for a second that it is happenstance that two such beautiful black brothers were killed in such close proximity to the election of Donald Trump. His election, to their own admission, has made white supremacists giddy from coast to coast.
This is what fully empowered white supremacy looks like. We’ve seen it before.