“They said they don’t have any evidence that he would take his medicine or that he would go to his follow-ups,” Melencia Hamilton, Anthony’s mother, told WSBTV News. Hamilton explained that her son has an enlarged heart, and a transplant is the only thing that will help his condition.
|Fifteen-year-old Anthony Stokes has been denied the heart transplant that would save his life|
The doctors at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta weren’t very specific about what exactly contributed to their decision to label Anthony as “non-compliant.” But family friends explained to WSBTV News that they were told it’s partly because of Anthony’s performance in school and run-ins with law enforcement.
His family and friends don’t accept that as a valid reason to deny the teen life-saving treatment. “We must save Anthony’s life,” family friend Mack Major, identified as Anthony’s mentor, told CBS Atlanta. “We don’t have a lot of time to do it, but it’s something that must be done.”
Civil rights organizations are beginning to take up Anthony’s cause, saying a child’s past shouldn’t have anything to do with the medical care they receive. “He’s been given a death sentence because of a broad and vague excuse of non-compliance,” a representative from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Christine Young Brown, said. “There was nothing specific in that decision. Just non-compliance.”
Regardless of Anthony’s specific past, his story fits into a larger pattern of racially-motivated skepticism about young black men. The routine criminalization of black youth — thanks in large part to the so-called “school-to-prison pipeline,” which funnels a disproportionate number of black teens into the justice system for minor infractions — ensures that teens like Anthony are often seen as threats. And once society labels those kids as criminal, suspect, or “non-compliant,” their lives are typically considered to have less value.