Note- a true story of a fine man, local to our area
An exceptional man.
A black man runs breathlessly across an arid Mississippi field on a summer night.
Townsmen with dogs relentlessly pursue.
The ‘worthless nigger’ glanced at a white woman. Caught. Strung up. Castrated. Set on fire. The southern town was a better place.
Only one thing wrong. The black man NEVER DID IT.
University of Virginia.
A major magazine, Rolling Stone, reported that members of a campus fraternity gang raped an innocent freshman girl. Fraternity suspended. Members vilified. Frat house vandalized. The victim becomes a hero. The campus was a better place.
Once again, the frat brothers NEVER DID IT.
Outrageous injustice can happen to anyone at anytime at anyplace. It has happened to poor black men and rich white men. And goodness! It has happened to women!
Yes, it has happened in the civilian world and in the military. Yes, the military….
Let us first briefly know the man.
Travel in time back to tiny Otisville Elementary School, 1975.
Greg Dinunzio, now retired teacher reflects.
“Kenny was incredible, a teacher’s dream. Academically wonderful, always helpful. And that smile! Never had a better student in 40 years.”
Kenny, one of two children of hard working middle class folk, continued happily through school. And then…
1983. High school. Kenny is driving home from school, behind a car full of students. The lead car careens off the road, flipping and crashing into a house. Two kids OK, one tragically injured.
Some look away.
Kenny climbs through the wreckage, and supports the now paralyzed boy until the ambulance comes.
Mary, the paralyzed boy’s mother, 32 years later..
“I will NEVER forget what Kenny did for my son.”
Don’t be surprised. He’s not just exceptional now. He’s always been exceptional.
Years pass. Kenny serves his country with great distinction, honor, and courage for decades.
Then charges are brought-exposing a soldier to the HIV virus.
We all know the quote “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
For Kenny, justice rode the back of the bus for five long years.
We also know, from watching Perry Mason to LA Law, that all prosecutions are based upon an investigation. But that DID NOT HAPPEN HERE. NOTHING! Perhaps a first?
For the young accuser in this case, he sexually engaged with “too many men to count”. Yet the prosecutor summarized his case against Kenny with the statement “You are HIV positive. You must be guilty”.
And he was found guilty, of a felony. Sentenced to prison. His career and life destroyed. AND HE NEVER DID IT.
Here, friends, is where the exceptionalism kicks into high gear. How many of us, life destroyed, facing prison, would cower and sulk?
Kenny immediately started working with young imprisoned men who could not string together three words in a sentence toward an appeal. He taught them, he demanded of them, he loved them.
His release date, an expected joyous event, was met with gut wrenching sobs by his students.
Earlier in this story, a terrible reprehensible word was used. Nigger.
Know this. Kenneth Pinkela and HIV positive men are the niggers of the military. They stand no chance of receiving justice.
So what do we ask from you?
Feel the pain.
Sense the outrage.
Reach out. Help us.
It is you that can bring a right to a terrible wrong.