This is going to make you very mad. You’ve been warned.
If, for some reason, you were of the mindset that America was the home of the most exceptional racism on the globe, then you’d be sadly mistaken. Even as some posture about leaving the states for greener, less bigoted pastures overseas, a quick internet search will quickly awaken you to the fact that racism and hate is rife everywhere. Sadly, that vitriol for melanated people was the demise of a 22-year-old young man named Bakari Henderson back in 2017 during what sounds to us like a hate crime.
Henderson was visiting Greece after graduating from college in Austin, Texas. He was there to take photographs for a fashion line that he was developing. A report in the Washington Post states that a waitress at a bar in Zakynthos asked Henderson to take a selfie with her and a Serbian man took exception. Police say the unidentified man then punched Bakari and subsequently “10-15” men chased him out the venue where they slammed him against a car, punched, and kicked him in the head. We will note that Henderson’s friends say they weren’t speaking to anyone when the mob of men initiated their assault.
Whatever the case, according to the WaPo article, nine men were identified, arrested, and charged with intentional homicide, a charge that carries a life sentence in Greece. Six of those men were found guilty of a lesser charge and the other three were found innocent. A person died. None went to prison. Over a selfie.
Parents Phil and Jill Henderson have been in agonizing grief for more than four years:
“I don’t think they view us Black people the same as they do white people over there,” Phil said, “and I felt that in the trial and in the results of the trial, that they treated and felt like he was less than a man.”
The prosecutor in the case was not satisfied with that outcome and ordered a retrial as there are no double-jeopardy laws in Greece. They can try you as many times as they’d like for the same crime. Henderson’s parents are hopeful that justice can finally be served.
They recently spoke to Gayle King on CBS Morning about the retrial that’s scheduled to finally begin on Feb. 21.
We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this case and we pray that Bakari Henderson’s family gets the justice they need in order to begin the long healing process.