I think writing is the only way I can cohesively express my thoughts from this past week.
Alton Sterling was killed by police officers early Tuesday morning. I briefly read tweets on Twitter throughout Tuesday saying "another black man killed by police" but I've become so desensitized to this happening on a regular basis that I didn't pay any attention until the next day. By Wednesday, I also learned that Philando Castile was pulled over for a broken taillight and then killed by a police officer, and Delrawn Small was killed by an off-duty police officer on Monday. The next day, I learned that an unidentified black man had been found hanging from a tree in Atlanta. By Friday morning, I had learned that a shooter opened fire on police officers after a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas had concluded, killing five officers (It's worth mentioning that this shooter was not part of the protest, but chose to promote a violent agenda after a peaceful one). I'm afraid to wake up tomorrow.
I've felt nothing but anger, frustration, and hopelessness this entire week. I've cried a lot. Social media is an absolute mess right now. Seems like a lot of people suddenly received law degrees from Harvard. A lot of people are tweeting/instagramming/snapchatting support, but a lot of people are also saying terrible things. I've seen tons of justifications for why Alton/Philando/Dallas police officers deserved to die. The worst part too is that today is Friday, which means the weekend has arrived. Everyone's going to forget about this week too, just like they've forgotten about Orlando/Sandy Hook/Freddie Gray/Sandra Bland/etc..
I feel the crushing weight of being a person of color. I tremble at the sight of police, because I just never know what could happen. I feel it when my white friends share experiences birthed from a place of privilege such as getting pulled over for speeding and always getting off with warnings, and I see it in events such as someone walking into a church and opening fire on a bible study and not being killed by police (Dylann Roof), while someone with a concealed carry permit is pulled over by police, informs the officer he is in legal possession of a gun, reaches for his identification, and is killed (Philando Castile). When I go to class at Ohio State and see that there is no one else who looks like me, that my school only enrolled 119 black men for the fall 2015 first year class, that my student government barely represents me, I am told that black lives aren't important. When I'm told by my white friends that hooking up with a black person is on their "bucket list", I am told that black lives aren't important. When non-POC (people of color) who call themselves "allies" are silent during times like this when they are most needed, I am told that black lives aren't important. When the videos of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile's brutal deaths make the rounds across social media and become a spectacle for people to watch, I am told that black lives aren't important. When the shooting that killed five police officers is pinned on a black man who was quickly determined to be innocent, but his picture and description is left up for hours which resulted in him and his family receiving thousands of death threats and no apologies are issued, I am told that black lives aren't important. When I've finally come to the understanding and acceptance that there's a very real chance that one day I might now make it home, that I could end up another victim of police brutality, and this doesn't shock or scare me anymore? I see that black lives aren't important.
Do black lives matter?