It was only last year on a hot July night in Brooklyn that Life as I Know It and I were sitting in front of the Brooklyn Museum after a long steady stroll from her place where had convened for a Soul Sista Circle. We were talking the whole way, maybe about something totally unrelated to the Trayvon Martin case. But the verdict, still to be announced was a like a stone in the pit of my stomach. Perhaps we were both partially avoiding our nervousness with chatter. But it was she who got the message on her cell that night on some social media platform that Trayvon’s murderer, Zimmerman was acquitted of second degree murder and manslaughter. We sat in the sadness, the deep heartbreak and anger of disappointment and something else, something worse before we began speaking again. The something worse was the newest in a long line of affirmations from America that BLACK LIVES DON’T MATTER. My heart broke for his family, for his mother, for all Black mothers.
Last night I was again having a long, enlightening phone conversation with Life as I Know It, again pretty unrelated to the verdict that was to be announced at 9:00 about Ferguson, both of us knowing it was coming up but still able to have a much-needed meeting about collaborating and positive building in our lives. Mid conversation she told me that the jury in Ferguson did not indict Officer Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown, and then my husband who was watching the news in our living room came and told me the same. None of us were surprised.
You see the American legal system is not broken. People keep saying things like that. As if it’s been so fair up until now and my God, what has happened? No, I think the American legal system is running smoothly and performing at an optimal level for those it was designed to work for. It is not broken at all. And if it is, then it’s been broken for quite some time.
Black people have never had the luxury nor the delusion to feel safe or protected around “law” officers. I’m a Black woman and I have rarely ever seen a Cop that I didn’t immediately feel I had to protect myself against. Kinda the way some white women feel when there are adult Black men anywhere nearby in public. That’s how I feel about cops. I hold my bags closer and get as far away from them as possible. I am not a fan of their work.
And when I watch the looting, destruction and demonstrating that is happening in the aftermath of this decision, I’m not surprised at that either. Raise your hand please if you made bets that the Ferguson verdict would be a call for dancing in the streets. Please sit down. You are clearly not Black.
This was just another bitter wait for the inevitable again, the broadcast again, what the majority of White America really believes about Black lives again: They don’t matter. And that’s not news anymore.