Shackelia’s journey for justice - Sister of cook shop operator killed in Orange Villa in 2014 battling for all Jamaicans
For the last four years, every time the clock strikes 12:20 p.m. on January 20, Shackelia Jackson remembers the shout of "Nakiea!" by her aunt who screamed into her cellular phone on that fateful day in 2014.
That was when Shackelia received the news that her brother, 27-year-old Nakiea Jackson, had been killed by the police inside his cookshop in Orange Villa, west Kingston.
The killing sparked two days of angry, fiery protests by residents and started Shackelia on a quest for justice. This has since morphed into a drive to get local authorities to respect the human rights and dignity of all Jamaicans.
On the eve of the fourth anniversary of Nakiea's death last Friday, Shackelia told The Sunday Gleaner that her journey for justice has been a revolving door that has allowed her to garner new perspectives and to rewrite the narrative that dominates the discourse on Jamaica's inner-city communities.
According to Shackelia, the rewrite is critical, and her quest is now to change the national discourse and perceived biases that are often visible when inner-city residents interact with the security forces and it ends in deadly violence.
"You can never quantify the loss. And I feel like tomorrow (yesterday), I didn't just lose my brother. I feel like I lost the country of my birth because that safe space that I would occupy, where I would go, Jamaica was my sweet escape. I now have to navigate the space differently," said Shackelia.
NAVIGATING NEW SPACE
She said that navigating the new space is as a result of the fears of relatives and individuals associated with her and the realisation that though painful and heart-rending, her brother will not appear to them warm-blooded and loving like he was.
"So sometimes I really want to shut my mouth, but I just can't. It is really difficult to remain quiet. So we want to be consistent with rebranding this tragedy. I have seen so many persons who this tragedy has broken beyond repair.
"I don't even know if they have the ability to be functional citizens anymore," added Shackelia.
She said that for many persons who have heard her speak about the issue, the narrative that they have been fed that all individuals from inner-city communities are illiterate, ignorant, and uncouth and criminals has been shattered.
According to the still grieving Shackelia, her ability to prove otherwise has opened doors for her and has changed many of the negative perceptions about inner-city communities.
She said that her family's quest for justice includes a plan to save another resident of Orange Villa from the fate of Nakiea.
This has included last year's inaugural staging of a treat on the anniversary of his birth where the family provided educational assistance up to the tertiary level to needy students. The donations were made with the help of corporate Jamaica.
"Many persons have said, 'She is not from there. Have you heard her speak?' That's why people stopped and listened to me. So I understand what education did for me along this journey. In memory of my brother, we want to do it for someone else," she said.
MAKE POLICING EASIER
The family has also turned to Amnesty International, the non-governmental organisation that focuses on human rights worldwide.
Amnesty's stated objective is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end abuses of human rights and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."
According to Shackelia, there is need for more residents of inner cities to change the complexion of their communities as this would make policing easier and create a more wholesome way of living for all.
She argues that it is the responsibility of the residents to make policing easier and to help to remove much of the aggressiveness and angst between police and them.