By Theresa Rothmiller
Sandra Bland, Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin.
All names with black skin.
I remember watching the footage of Sandra Bland being improperly handled by a police officer after a traffic stop, June 10, 2015. The tears rolled down my cheeks as the officer slammed her onto the concrete, bending her arms. In my eyes, she did nothing wrong.
The officer thought otherwise.
After a few days, Bland was pronounced dead. Supposedly, she committed suicide in the holding cell. Security footage showed otherwise. There was no way she could have hung herself, and those who been to jail can confirm that. But why was she still being held? Days later, she should have been released.
I remember another incident where a white man shot and killed nine African Americans in June 2015 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church. When caught, the cops didn’t slam him to the ground. Nor did they shoot first and ask questions later. Unlike Bland’s arrest, police peacefully took into custody Dylann Roof.
In Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9, 2014, an 18 year-old black male was fatally shot by a white police officer. Mike Brown was said to have stolen and assaulted the worker at a convenience store prior to the incident. The officer Darren Wilson was let free on self-defense.
The thought of this kid’s life taken by the one who should’ve been protecting it makes me furious.
In February 2012, Trayvon Martin was killed. In this case, the killer, George Zimmerman, was mixed raced Hispanic. Martin was unarmed, carrying only Skittles in his pocket. Zimmerman claimed he thought it was a weapon. Like Brown’s case, he was acquitted on self-defense.
So many questions, yet no explanations. As if we’re supposed to forget.
Today, sweat forms in the palms of my hands when my husband and sons leave the house.
Before, I just worried about the black men. Now, the black women are in as much danger.
There’s fear in my eyes, and my heart beats faster than normal when I’m stopped by police officers.
White people and other races go free after killing black people.
Meanwhile, we serve unnecessary prison sentences, separating our black families.
In history books, I’ve read about my enslaved ancestors long forgotten.
Now, decades later, it seems that black lives didn’t matter then or now.
Nevertheless, for us living our black lives, we’ll keep reminding them we do.
Contact Theresa Rothmiller at firstname.lastname@example.org