closeup of some pieces of paper with the text human rights and stop deportations handwritten in them on a rustic wooden surface

Osime Brown is in Prison for Being Black and Autistic

Yesterday, I read a devastating article from The Independent about a young autistic man with intellectual disability who is facing being deported in the U.K., and in the process, I came across sub-heading that struck me to my core. As an individual who knows what it’s like to be forced to move from a place in which one thrives, a place where one was safe and had warmth and support, I relate.

Young black man named Osime Brown. He is autistic on the autism spectrum.
Osime Brown, image credit to The Independent, 2020.

The subheader reads, “Mother of Osime Brown says his deportation marks culmination of failings by statutory agencies over the years” –The Independent on the Story of Osime Brown

These words so heartfelt, the words of a mother’s anguish, perfectly summarizing the nightmare that Osime Brown, a 21-year old man who left Jamaica at age 4 with his family to move to the UK, will face if he is deported to Jamaica. There, he’d be away from his family and support groups, without which Mr.Brown would likely not be able to survive.

Editor’s note: Osime Brown is scheduled for a final appeal to stop deportation this month. We were unable to find more information or how we could support this case. While we will continue to search for advocacy routes to stop his deportation, we ask that UK citizens who have access to more information about this case or any measure to support Osime and his family please contact us immediately by using the site contact form, responding in the comments, messaging on social media, or emailing (we have not yet switched over our email nameservers).

Update: please sign this petition put together by Emma Dalmayne to stop the deportation of Osime Brown.

What Brown faces is a more than a simple move. It is a disastrous and traumatic change that will remove the fragile foundation from beneath him. To the Autistic individual, familarity and structure can be, and often are the difference between thriving and a slow and somber death as a member of what I call “The Lost Boys of Society.”

The Lost Boys are the children and young adults removed from their homes, cast away, deported like in this case, and eventually taken advantage of by a society that fails to see the humanity whithin our eyes and within our hearts. To uproot an autistic Individual from their sources of support, which isn’t much in Western society, can cost them everything.

Osime Brown is an Autistic person of color, like myself, and is undoubtedly being targeted for this reason. While its stated that his deportation is due to petty crimes, the accusations are undoubtedly instances in which the Individual’s dissabilities and extensive support needs were overlooked.

In fact, in elementary school, Osime faced what many autistic people of color faced, which is being denied an autism diagnosis and having his autistic traits written off as being “rude” and “disruptive.”

“They didn’t take much notice of what was behind his behaviour,” says Fairclough, talking about Brown’s experience in school. “They used to say he was disruptive and rude. They put that down to being unruly. I had to fight and fight and fight to get him assessed.”
-The Independent, 3/15/2020

Lost Boys like Osime are manipulated, as is so common for disadvantaged youth who endure a system known for its global elitism and systematic racism. At the age of 16, Brown was taken from his loving family home by social services and moved through 28 different placements in one year. During the whole of this time, his loving family tried to regain custody.

It was during this time, Osime was scapegoated and took the blame for a group of older kids who stole a cell phone. He tried to stop them, and evidence showed Osime never even was in possession of the phone. That didn’t stop him from being given a five year prison sentence.

It was clear in court that Osime had no idea what was happening and did not know what he was doing when he was goaded to take the phone. Officials argued that Osime would not have been put in such a position had he not been mismanaged and removed from a safe and loving home.

Two years later, Osime was sentenced to five years in prison for theft– for a crime he didn’t understand and theft of an object he never intended to use.

I would argue that Osime has been punished for being Black and autistic from primary school, when his traits were written off as bad behavior, when he was being removed from his loving home, when he was put in 28 different placements in one year, when he was exploited by older kids who took advantage of his naive tendency to trust, when he was sentenced to five years in prison, and now when he is scheduled to be deported to a place he’s not seen since he was four.

Osime Brown is expected to “live independently” in Jamaica, as the article noted, and make a life for himself alone and without the ability and support to do so. The way in which he would be deported is unfair, and in my eyes as a freelance Journalist, nothing short of exile and an execution. Osime cannot survive those conditions, being dropped where he knows nothing and no one.

What is the law, when its corrupt in its enforcement? what is it at the cost of losing ones humanity. How can we trust it when the law is made to crush anyone who does not fit into a predominantly white elitist box ? The treatment of Osime Brown is not just cruel. It is inhumane.

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