I usually pride myself on being up on current events. This police officer was arrested but not indicted...that police officer turned himself in but didn't go to trial...you know, the usual.
"Did you see the video of the police officer shooting the guy driving down the street in that white car?"
"Which one? The one in Oakland or the one in New York? Is it the video where the girl screams at the guy to listen to the officers so that they won't kill him in the street? I don't know which video you're talking about."
THIS. The innocent killing of black men, women and children has become the norm for us so much so that I don't know whose murder is being referenced. We march and we hashtag and argue on social media with the very people who fetishize our grief. I'm always told that I'm too vocal on social media about these things.
"You're a wedding planner. You have to be professional. You really shouldn't talk about these things where your clients can see."
My response: "If they have a problem with my outrage for these innocent black bodies in the street at the hands of police officers, I'm probably not the planner for them."
I often struggle with hiding the pain and anxiety that these murders bring about. Another video, another march, another political candidate mocking my pain. When Trayvon Martin was murdered, I mourned him as if he was my little brother. I received phone calls and text messages asking if I was ok. You see, I wasn't able to hide my grief for Trayvon. The mocking of the star witness was commonplace. Her story never changed, though. Letting Zimmerman walk free was a huge miscarriage of justice. It knocked the wind out of me. I remember thinking that he'd have to be in hiding for the rest of his life because of how outraged people were. He's been arrested numerous times since then. I lost a few business contacts during that time. Honestly, if you're defending George Zimmerman, I probably don't want to do business with you anyway.
When I heard about little Tamir Rice's murder, those feelings that I felt for Trayvon were stirred up again. Watching the video, I was so upset at his mom for letting him play with a toy gun. It was only until the march in New York for Eric Garner that I learned that she didn't give him the gun. I'll never forget; I was waiting for my car to be washed and they were showing the march on the news. Tamir mother thanked everyone for their support and stepped off the podium. She immediately returned and said, "I just want to clear something up...I didn't give him that gun. He got it from a friend's house." Tears began streaming down my face. Here she is grieving her baby while defending her parenting. How could I?
I'd been in meetings all day today, away from social media. I finally had a second at a stop light to get a quick Facebook fix when I saw Tamir's name throughout my entire newsfeed. I called a friend to find out what was going on. I mean, obviously they weren't going to indict the police officer who shot that baby within 2 seconds of arriving on the scene. It's become the norm to not hold these police officers accountable for their actions but I couldn't just brush it off. I tried to blame it on pms. You know, I had to be this upset because of biology, not because of my humanity. I kept busy for a few hours when I broke down. I thought of Tamir's mother's pain.
I called my friend Dr. Joy DeGruy to talk it all out. She wrote a book called "Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome". When big news hits like this, the comments section on social media are full of the most hateful, racist people out there. Honestly, I feel like people are so hard on black people and in turn, we're hard on ourselves. Whenever I hear her talks, she provides answers and hope. I needed some of those answers and hope. I warned her as soon as she answered the phone that I was emotional, which isn't anything new, but I was about to cry and wanted to give her a moment to brace herself.
"Why didn't they check to see if the gun was fake?! The caller said that he thought the gun was probably fake!" I sobbed. My best friend died almost 4 years ago and it was only recently that I thought, if I had known that he was going to end his life, maybe I could have alerted someone. Knowing that the outcome would have been the same no matter what. That's how I feel hearing the caller tell the 911 dispatcher that the gun was probably fake. "What if you KNEW it was fake? You could have alerted the police officers and Tamir might still be here."
I'm tired of the silence from friends and colleagues. I get it...I get it. You don't use social media to discuss such matters. Well, if I know everything that you've eaten and how a moment at Starbucks changed your life to be a better mom/father, why does social media become so sacred to you when it comes to matters of race? I'm just tired all around. I'm tired of the videos and the protests and having to explain over and over again WHY I'm outraged over these innocent black bodies in the streets...I'm just tired, you guys.