On August 07, 2016, I interviewed an 11 year old African American named Jacob, and he had some rather interesting things to say about heaven. Jacob’s mother was also surprised by the things that her son had to say during our interview which was conducted shortly after he had finished attending his ancestral Roman Catholic church.

Jacob’s family has belonged to the Roman Catholic faith for longer than America has been a nation and he wouldn’t change his faith for anything in the world.

Now since I am familiar with the traditional Catholic view on heaven, I wanted to find out whether or not it is consistent with an inner city kid’s view of heaven since South LA didn’t exist when the traditional Christian views were first formed during a time of considerable turmoil.

When I first started the interview Jacob said heaven is where all of the believers will go to be with Jesus and God the father and Jesus’s mother Mary. And when I asked whether or not he had any other ideas about heaven he simply folded his little arms and said yeah I have a lot of things to say, but I don’t want to bother you since my mother told me not to bother grown folks when I was trying to talk to my father about my videogames while he was trying to take a nap after our Sunday dinner which was at 4:00pm.

I immediately advised Jacob that he wouldn’t be bothering me and that I wanted to know what he had to say since his thoughts and ideas about heaven and also about his immediate environment are extremely important from a journalist’s perspective. I also advised Jacob that his comments would help certain interested parties in their quest to determine the overall role that turmoil plays in developing certain belief systems that address the tumultuous times that human beings find themselves living in.  

Jacob’s comments about heaven are below.

When I get to heaven and meet Jesus and God and Mary they will allow me to live with my dog Kennedy who was run over by the police and killed when they drove onto the sidewalk right before jumping out and pulling guns on these three teenagers who were just reciting poetry while getting their kites ready for the park. And one of the guys was talking about wanting to learn how to play the saxophone before the police started accusing them of being in a gang. The police also searched them for no reason at all and made them put their hands in front of the engine and hit them every time they drew their hands back because the heat was burning them.

I asked the police why they ran over my dog and they just laughed at me. The white officers also told me not to call animal control and to throw my dog in the trash or to push him down the sewer since no one was going to believe me when I told them that the police had run over my dog. I buried Kennedy in my backyard when I was 8 years old.

When I get to heaven Jesus will have jobs for black people like my 22 year old brother and like my 47 year old uncle who was laid off.

When I get to heaven black males won’t have to cry because they can’t find a job or because the unemployment is running out.

When I get to heaven the suffering will end because Jesus will be the President and he will help black people since no one else cares about Americans who are black even though blacks were suffering before any of the other minorities came to America.

When I get to heaven blacks will be respected and won’t be setup and thrown in jail.

When I get to heaven I hope to meet the 15 year old neighborhood boy who had to travel to an all-white area by bus and who was finally given an opportunity to work at an ice cream place after asking the white female manager at least ten times. This same boy was also coming home at 11:00pm which is why the police were harassing him. And the old people that knew him said that the neighborhood boy did his work for 3.35 an hour when he lived in Los Angeles durind the 1980s. But I don’t believe that I will have this kind of opportunity when I become old enough to work because the same boy also did landscaping for a church on Saturdays and still kept his grades up.

When I get to heaven Jesus will provide sugar so the black lady across the street won’t have to send her seven year old son to ask her neighbors if she can borrow some sugar or some salt until she gets paid again. Sometimes I use my allowance to buy sugar and salt and bread for the family of four that lives across the street since the father is out of work and since I heard that the people in Russia are living better than us.

When I get to heaven the police won’t be shooting innocent black people because whden Jesus returns he is going to destroy all of the bad police officers like the ones that ran over Kennedy. My priest said that not everyone who calls themselves a Christian will be allowed into heaven and that bad cops are going to hell for the sins that they have committed against black people.

When I get to heaven black people will not be using drugs because they will finally be happy because racism will no longer exist.

When I get to heaven black people will only drink wine with Jesus since they will no longer be depressed since Jesus will wipe away all of their tears.  

When I get to heaven the fathers and the mothers who have been separated from their families because of police brutality will live with their children under the protection of Jesus.

When I get to heaven there won’t be any more gun shots because the police and gangs and drug dealers won’t exist in heaven.

When I get to heaven I can finally live in peace and the donut trucks and the ice cream trucks can come by and give all of the kids something to eat without the drug dealers having to pay for it since not all kids have money.  

When I get to heaven the white counselors and the bookmobiles and the neighborhood after school programs that I heard that they used to have in the 1980s will return to the black neighborhoods.

When I get to heaven the black construction workers will have work like they used to.

When I get to heaven I will be able to play with white kids and the only whites that are in my neighborhood won’t be the mean white police officers who call us names and who beat us up.

When I get to heaven I won’t have helicopters shaking my house and drowning out my videogames or making me feel like I’m living in a warzone.

I just want peace and quiet for a change and would love to have picnics in the park without the police showing up and harassing everyone.

I just want a future.    

                                               

 Nathaniel Armstrong, Jr.

Cerritos, CA –

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