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Beat of his own drum

by Vince Bushell, photo Lorraine Jacobs

The placard on top of the drum reads: “F— THAT BRING ARE (sic) BABIES BACK!” I am not sure what Bernell Trammell meant. But he certainly was not shy about sharing his vision.
Turns out I saw him with a Vote Trump homemade sign on the busy corner of Humboldt and North Avenue last Friday July 17. I was driving and I didn’t think it was Bernell Trammell, but it was. I was a bit concerned about a black man promoting Trump in Riverwest, not known to be a hot bed of support for Trump here. Though the worse I could imagine was some shouting matches. Mostly it seems the cars just ignored him. After all we have enough things to worry about these days.
So imagine my concern that turned to shock when I awoke on Friday July 24 to news that someone had been shot and killed on Bremen and Wright Streets. Later on Friday I learned that it was Trammell. I had visited his storefront last year and had a fairly long conversation. I told him I published the Currents. He had stacks of Expressions magazine and he sold me

Bernell Tramell, July 2020 Holton and North Ave.

a few copies. Trammel clearly wanted to raise a bit of money. He was a talker and many folks knew him. He was a fixture in his store front. Usually there were signs outfront espousing his philosophy and political action of the moment.
I have to admit I was a bit disturbed when I saw the Trump signs displayed. But he also supported Lena Taylor for Mayor. I don’t think he had much love for Mayor Barrett. His opinions were his, and it seemed not a movement. At least not in Riverwest.
So he died near midday Thursday on the street where he lived. The police do not have a motive or a suspect as I write this. But Republicans do. They are shameless.
This has made Trammell’s death, a black man who supported Dondal Trump, a bit of news that was picked up by the US Editon of The Guardian. Republican sources are pointing the finger at Democrats and asking for a Federal Investigation of the murder. They don’t have any reason to do this except to make political points.
Evidence proceeds acusations.
They should be careful as the finger could point back at them. No one knows the how or why of this senseless killing. I do hope a motive and suspect are found.
Bernell Trammell was near 60 years old and as others have been quoted, he was part of what makes Riverwest. Iconoclastic individuals of many political affiliations.
I cannot know what was in his heart. But his face does not show malice towards others. His signs and actions are in your face but we must not resort to violence to silence those with whom we disagree. Pause before you hit and give it deeper thought.
So far, this year, striking back violently seems to be a mode the White House and its resident wants to use. While he holds a bible, or hides behind a bible.
Time to heal. Time to defeat the virus by community action. Time to care about your neighbors.
Time to care about Bernell Trammell. After all Riverwest used to use the slogan:
Diversity is our Strength.
We are a little less diverse after losing an unusual citizen. One who was not afraid to put his opinons on his front door and march around with a drum and engage in debate. He picked a rough time to do that when the nation and our city and state are divided on important topics.
Black lives matter. And that means All Black Lives Matter.
Bang the drum Trammell. Let us hear your thoughts in our minds and be not judgemental of such a person.