The sun dripped on my body like hot butter. You know, that summer time sun that drives children to swimming pools and emergency rooms. I stumbled out of North East Market, still drunk from the night before. I swallowed my chicken salad sandwich in 5 minutes tops, as if I haven’t eaten in months. I opened my Twitter app and was punched dead in my face with a story headline: “Seattle police fatally shoot black Seattle mother.” I clicked the article, waiting for it to load, praying that it’s click bait. However, the mundane stories of cops killing Black people is something that’s almost always true. I started reading, and my tear ducts became heavy like burdens. I discovered: a Black woman named Charleena Lyles called the police to report a burglary, and two cops pulled their triggers, murdering the 30-year-old pregnant-woman, in front of three children (ages 11, 4, and 1).
In these type of situations, I always ask myself, “why couldn’t the cop use a taser?” She was a small pregnant woman, surrounded by three kids, like c’mon? Then I remember, when police officers see Black skin, they black out, and hunt for the smell of Black blood. Lives are taken, all because a racist coward killer cop “feared for his/her life.” Check this out: in America, it is acceptable for trained cops to panic and act on impulse, stripping someone’s life. But, nonthreatening and untrained citizens have to keep calm while cops poke pistols in their face. After seeing innocent Black people who look just like you. murdered by police, how can one keep calm when their life is up for grabs?
Situations like Charleena Lyles and the countless others, traumatizes the family of the victims, and the bystanders who witness. These devastating experiences also create a peculiar psyche in the minds of Black people. I can’t help but to think, “Will I be next?”
Charleena Lyles family noted that she suffered from mental health issues. But wait, there’s more… The Seattle Police Department has an ongoing federal consent decree, after a Department of Justice investigation found a pattern; officers engaging in excessive use of force, against people with mental or substance abuse problems. Therefore, Charleena was not the first Seattle Police Department’s victim, and she will not be the last.
Tamir Rice was a child at a playground, Kathryn Johnson was 92-year-old woman, chilling in her own home, Philando Castille, who’s murderer recently walked away with no convictions, was in the car with his girlfriend and child, and Charleena Lyles was pregnant, surrounded by three small children. Racist institutions and killer cops DO NOT HAVE ANY PICKS. Any day, at any moment, your Black ass can be a hashtag, or a forgotten one. Your college degree, financial status, or your love for pumpkin spiced lattes can not, and will not save you, if you are non-white.
We are born into a world where there is a universal belief that is nourished in the minds of Americans: There is something wrong with Black people. By consuming this racist idea, when a Black person is MURDERED by a killer cop, people ask, “what did he/she do?” or some say “it was a justified killing.” The word “justified” in America, has racism scribbled all over it.
Hanging Black people by trees, dousing them in gasoline, setting their bodies in flames, cutting open pregnant bellies, and stampeding on the fetus — these were actions that was supported and sustained by America. And that’s exactly why police can murder Blacks, and don’t get convicted, because killer cops have been replaced with lynch mobs. Sandra Bland, Korryn Gaines, Charleena Lyles, and the other unnamed Black women throughout history; their deaths fit into the historical pattern of them committing the same crime, and that is being a Black woman in America who resists white supremacy. And Black women who resist white supremacy are the biggest threats, because to a racist, Black women are scums of the Earth, and to murder the “loud mouth” ones are a mean of social control. The murderes that cops commit are warning shots to Black people in America. “Hey this is what will happen to your Black ass if your rise up against White Supremacy.”
Moral of the story…
Calling the police can cost you your life, if you’re Black. And at the rate that this country is going right now, you most definitely can be next, sooner than you think.
My heart goes out to every family member and friend of a victim who has been strangled to death by the iron hands of systemic oppression. I don’t have a one-sized-fit-all solution to this problem. However, let’s continue to educate the youth and show them the importance of literacy so we can groom them to be critical thinkers, which I believe can better their chance of rising above their poor living conditions.
Make sure you pursue your passion today…