When My Brother Fell: A Letter To David Kato



Like many, I never heard the power and beauty of your voice until it was amplified by death. I knew little of you, to me you appeared to be one of the many suffering Afro-Queers that line the globe, all dreaming of forever fields and life without ceilings.  I did know that earlier this year, your brave face was printed on the front page of a news paper with the words “hang them” sprawled out next to you and I was scared for you, just as I am for the other 99 queers who’s faces and addresses were given to the lions. My heart broke to hear of your passing, to hear of the brutality you suffered, to hear that you were still denied peace after death when they refused to bury you. I am sorry, David. Sorry that we come into a world that makes our existence, hell from the moment we are bold enough to articulate, to ourselves, that we are homosexuals.

After learning of your murder I have found myself paralyzed with grief. It is hard to hear this news because I know that many will be unmoved by it, in fact, many will applaud it. The fascists are numerous and our allies, often indifferent to our murders, more content with the sexier politics of revolution. And so this morning I woke up wiping the tears of my face with a resolve to pick up the weapons dropped to absorb this moment and allow it to motivate me.

In this world, we must look out for one another and while I cannot expand my embrace across the globe for all queers, I can stand up in the places I inhabit. I can organize in the places I inhabit. I can press truth to the earth I stand on until many more David Kato’s blossom. At the moment, queer persecution is often an after thought. Something that is thought about by professional activists and revolutionaries after the horns of revolution have sounded.  We know that this is incorrect, that any revolution on this wretched earth must be done so in the name of the liberation of the gender oppressed in conjunction with people of color and the working class.

I hear your voice in that last interview you gave and I hear your fear as the interviewer inquires about the newspaper printing your name. I see the worry in your eyes. I also see a courage and fire that has yet to go out and the words of Fred Hampton come to mind:

“You can kill a revolutionary but you can never kill the revolution.”

Your spirit lives on David. And your weapons will be picked up.