Sardonic Sistah Says

Observations… Ruminations… Ponderances… & Rants from Another Perspective

We Will Tell Lavena’s Story

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The Washington Post just finished a week long retrospective of the Chandra Levy case amid criticism that the focused on the killing of one white intern while hundreds of unsolved murders of African Americans happen in Washington DC every year. 

For the last few years the black community has called out mainstream media for not following stories about the disappearances of black women, instead focusing on young women with fair skin and long tresses.  Who will tell our story?  Who will care about our young women?

We will.  And we should.

Lavena Johnson

Lavena Johnson

LaVena Johnson’s story is slow to gather attention in the news although it has the earmarkings of what usually sells.  The 19 year old private from Missouri was proudly serving her country.  She was drawn to the Army out of love for travel and the promise of money for college.  In July 2005 LaVena was found dead and her death was ruled by the Army a suicide although up to her death LaVena spoke regularly with family and friends and had given no sign of contemplating suicide.

When the Johnson family received their daughter’s body they saw signs that she had been beaten. 

“After two years of being denied answers and hearing explanations that made no sense, the Johnsons received a CD-ROM from someone on the inside,” writes Color of Change.org.   “It contained pictures of the crime scene where LaVena died and an autopsy showing that she had suffered bruises, abrasions, a dislocated shoulder, broken teeth, and some type of sexual assault. Her body was partially burned; she had been doused in a flammable liquid, and someone had set her body on fire. A corrosive chemical had been poured in her genital area, perhaps to cover up evidence of rape.”

As the Army sticks with their story bloggers like Phillip Barron have taken up the cause.  Her story has also been discussed on Common Dreams.org and Salon.com.  Color of Change.org has a petitioncalling on Henry Waxman, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, to investigate the Army’s cover-up of LaVena’s death.

LaVena’s father feels that they aren’t the only family to suffer a loss in this way.  In June ’08, Dr. Johnson told the New Zealand Herald that he has been contacted by 10 other families of “suicide female soldiers” where the common thread among them is rape.

Dr. Johnson believes that a high ranking official was involved in his daughter’s death.  “If this had been a private, they would have thrown him under a bus a long time ago,” he said.

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Written by rentec

29 July, 2008 at 8:51 pm

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