The separation in the current geopolitical climate is wider than most people care to recognize. Many people don’t understand why there’s outrage over concepts that are now considered racially insensitive but were just common jokes not too long ago. “Political correctness” applies to all aspects of the human kaleidoscope, to include disability and gender as well as race. Much of it is more than reasonably justified.
The Black Lives Movement sought to shed light on the hate and disregard that Black lives have endured including police killings. Those who don’t understand usually are offended or confused by the message of BL. They fail to inject empathy and connection to those who they don’t understand or are normally around. The them, the “other.” It’s always easier to talk to or associate with those people who agree with you but it requires courage and fortitude to extend an olive branch to those who don’t. In Tony Medina, Stacey Robinson, and John Jennings’ I Am Alfonso Jones, we find a protagonist whose life is cut short but his love for those around him marches on.
We meet Alfonso, a young Black and Puerto Rican kid, whose part time job as a bike messenger, allows him to travel all throughout New York City. He just got a part in his school’s hip hop rendition of Hamlet, while he harbors feeling for his best friend, Danetta. His life changes when an off-duty police officer mistakes Alfonso pulling out a weapon, when he actually pulled out a clothes hanger. He ends up being shot dead, while his spirit ends up on a ghost metro train, where other NYC dwellers who happen to be ghosts also reside, as he awakens to no recollection of what happened. Alfonso soon finds out that each rider had an unjust death. Each of them tell their story to him as their unrest becomes the fuel for the protesters fighting the injustice that leads to these murders.
Overall, an affecting story that feels very close to home. Medina discusses these very relevant issues while remembering to stimulate the reader. The story by Medina, is powerful, well developed, and relatable. The art by Robinson and Jennings is vivid and heartfelt. Altogether, a story that leaves an imprint on your consciousness while enlightening your mind for the road ahead.
Story: Tony Medina Art: Stacey Robinson and John Jennings
Story: 10 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy