On April 20, the nation rejoiced as Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all charges for the death of George Floyd. Through this journey of fighting towards justice on this land that has stripped us of every right of our humanness, as one, we claimed this stamp of accountability in history.
However, as we rejoiced, a mother lost her daughter. A friend lost their friend. A sister lost her sister. In Columbus, Ohio, Officer Nicholas Reardon shot and killed 16-year old Ma’Khia Bryant. As we received accountability for George Floyd, we found ourselves back at the drawing board 10 minutes later.
The normalization of a Black American being shot and killed has become embedded into our minds. The numbness evolves around our body, but our heart and mind drives us to go out into the streets to fight and scream out the names of our brothers and sisters. We refuse to let justice become inevitable in America.
From the words of Stokely Carmichael, a phenomenal civil rights leader who coined the term Black power, “In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none.” We need to continue to get into good trouble, until the war is won.
Surviving in this country as a Black American is like trying to have armor to protect you from a death certificate that has already been written for you.
According to the Statsia Research Department, “The trend of fatal police shootings in the United States seems to only be increasing, with a total 213 civilians having been shot, 30 of whom were Black, in the first three months of 2021. In 2020, there were 1,021 fatal police shootings, and in 2019 there were 999 fatal shootings. Additionally, the rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans was much higher than that for any other ethnicity, standing at 35 fatal shootings per million of the population as of March 2021.”
In the last moments before her life was taken without a thought, Ma’Khia Bryant died because a police officer was scared of Black skin that was never meant to be weaponized. According to her family, Ma’Khia Bryant called 911 for protection due to an altercation causing her to be jumped. I cannot morally justify why Bryant held a knife for protection.
Officer Nicholas Reardon arrived at the scene, and said one sentence, “What is going on?” Reardon then proceeded to grab his gun without hesitation and shot Ma’Khia Bryant four times in the chest. As seen on the video filmed by a witness to the shooting, Reardon’s eyes did not fill with pity, remorse, agony, but only as a cop whose job was completed as he stood over Bryant’s fragile body.
In 2005 the Supreme Court, in response to a 1999 Colorado case involving a protective order domestic violence and multiple homicides of children, justices ruled that police do not have a constitutional duty to protect someone. According to New York Times, the Castle Rock v. Gonzales case, states “The Supreme Court ruled that the police did not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm, even a woman who had obtained a court-issued protective order against a violent husband making an arrest mandatory for a violation.”
I rest my head in a nation that does not want me to survive. I walk in a nation with a target on my back, waiting to be the next victim. Injustice no longer has an age bracket within the blood that is the bedrock of America.
I am a Black young woman who is scared I’m going to be killed for making the good trouble. I am a Black young woman who refuses to be another statistic. I am a Black young woman who will continuously repeat the words of our ancestors. I have a dream that one day we can live in a nation, where my little brother does not have to be taught what being a Black man in America truly means.
My death certificate will not be written by cruelty in the United States of America. I refuse to say goodbye to another one of our brothers and sisters. There is no longer protection in America. There is no longer acceptance. What do we do now, America?
America, I am tired.