This might be the first time that I have made the conscious effort to step away from the news and drama of a racially charged trial in this country. As a junior in high school I watched the verdict unfold in my living room as four officers were found innocent of using excessive force on Rodney King.
It was caught on tape. There was nowhere to hide from the truth...and yet a black man was beaten senseless while officers were allowed to go free. I learned from an earlier age that things were different for people who looked like me as opposed to people who looked like my white friends. But the name calling, excessive force, and escalation of situations that never needed to go so far were never recorded. Never brought before a jury of my peers.
So when Rodney King’s video displaying the overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing was not enough to get the police to change their ways it taught me that my life in this country would always be one in which the threat of a cop having a bad day could be the last experience I have in this world.
This stress and anxiety only multiplied when the murderer of Trayvon Martin was acquitted in 2012.
Aura Rosser in 2014.
Fanisha Fonville in 2015...officers not charged.
When the murderer of Philando Castile was acquitted in 2017.
When the murderers of Stephon Clark were never brought to trial and Ronell Foster’s were acquitted in 2018.
Atatiana Jefferson in 2019...acquitted
Breonna Taylor in 2020...acquitted.
More than 135 other unarmed black men and women shot and killed while the list of those brutalized is innumerable. And the world watched during a collective quarantine as the life of George Floyd was taken...boldly...unabashedly...without fear while being recorded.
I pray that justice can be found in the morning, but if I am honest...life’s lessons and our recorded history don’t provide much evidence for those searching for optimism. Nor a hope for a decline in the devaluation of Black life.
I pray because He tells me to. Because God is faithful. Always has been. I pray because I can do nothing more. I’ve marched, I’ve petitioned, I’ve spoken out, I’ve voted, I’ve written, I’ve cried...I’ve begged. The blood and sweat and pain and tears and rage and depression and trauma of being Black and only wanting to be seen as an equal...not as a threat but an asset to society takes its toll on an already weary people.
I know His justice will come in time. I only pray that justice for George comes much sooner.