In 2005, 20-year-old Jabbar Gibson drove a school bus 13 hours to evacuate 60 people from Hurricane Katrina, spending $1,200 of his own money on the refugees. But not too long afterward, he went down a long road of jail and prison time, and the media slowly began to erase his legacy as a local hero. Why?
Raised in the Fischer Projects, he’d been working odd jobs and dealing drugs from a young age to support his family. And after Katrina, he’d gotten arrested for doing just that. He was arrested in 2005, 2006, and 2008 – and sentenced to 15 years for crack distribution in 2010.
Despite the lives he saved, the media laid his “hero” title to rest, and relegated him to an inmate number. And the system discarded him, like it’s designed to do.
Gibson’s acts of kindness saved lives, but that was all forgotten because the system cannot see us for the full entirety of who we are. It was created to mark us as “criminals,” and define us only by the mistakes we’ve made, not the good we’ve done.