A Jacksonville Mail Carrier and well-known member of the Jacksonville community was recently accosted by individuals with racial slurs while on the job. Mick Walls, a star basketball player while at JHS in the mid-1990s, a former assistant basketball coach at MacMurray College, and a current member of the U.S. Postal Service said that 2 vehicles shouted racial slurs at him from vehicles on Monday afternoon while he was delivering mail in the southern part of Jacksonville. “It was just a normal day for me really. I was walking east on East Superior Avenue and crossed the street to head west in the 200 block of East Superior when a red truck pulled up right at the intersection of South Clay and East Superior. They cracked the window and yelled out the n-word at me. I just ignored it and kept on delivering the mail. It’s the norm for me, to have people walk by and just shout things at me or yelling hey. It’s not the first time someone has yelled the word at me, won’t be the last. I didn’t really think anything of it. About 20 or 30 minutes later, they came back around again on the corner of Goltra and East Superior and said it again. Then, I said to myself that they are taunting me, trying to rile me up. Literally, I saw a rock in a ditch and grabbed it and put it in my bag just in case. Then, I never saw them again.”
Walls said a second vehicle got even more brazen and hateful with their taunts. “I’m still doing my route and I get around to Hardin Avenue. I’m in the 1000 block of Hardin getting ready to cross over Michigan. I’m at the house on the corner and there is a stop sign there. A white car pulls up and I didn’t think anything of it. They slowed down a little bit as I’m about to get in the mail truck and they just yell out ‘F-you people! F-Black Lives Matter! I hope they kill all of you!’ I’ve been with the postal service for the last two and a half years but as far as the magnitude of people yelling stuff like this, it’s a first.”
Walls says it hasn’t been the first time he’s encountered racism on the job. Walls said he has spoken with the Jacksonville Police Department and the Civil Rights Division of the Springfield FBI about the description of the vehicles and possible criminal charges. He says that if authorities find out if it was juveniles doing the taunting in the incident, he wants to talk to them and that if it’s adults, they need to go to jail.
Walls says that a similar event that happened to a 14 year old boy in Community Park on Tuesday evening, to his knowledge, isn’t connected to what happened to him on Monday afternoon. A red truck called the boy a sexual slur while he was jogging in the park alone.
Walls says he and his fiancee have been happy with all the support they have received from the community after hearing about he incident. “This incident kind of makes it all real with what’s going on right now. However, I feel good about all the comments from everyone. I didn’t expect them to go like this. It just shows that there are people out here that care. They really try to understand and that’s a start. The love and support has been awesome. That’s why I always say that I’d be the first person to defend Jacksonville, and I know there are bad groups of people everywhere you go. You can’t blame the whole town for that.”
Walls hopes that it helps keep conversation moving forward about labeling, profiling, and judgment. He hopes that his story helps people understand that racism is present in the community and that it can be stopped.