I remember when Trayvon Martin was murdered. I sat there on the bedroom floor of my grandmothers’ bedroom and asked if she thought justice was going to be served. Her tone was weary, the tone of a black woman who had seen too much and little change. She told me,
“No baby, they don’t want justice for us.”
I don’t know if I believed her. I sat there in stunned silence as a murderer got off without so much as a slap on the wrist. I took a silent oath that day that I was going to change America. That I would finally get little black boys the justice they deserved.
I didn’t understand my grandmothers’ weariness. But years later, I did.
In the years that followed, I watched black person after black person slain. Their dead bodies on my Twitter feed. Reminiscent much of the public lynchings that happened not too long ago, but this time we got to see it on repeat. People saying it was deserved. That these black people deserved to die.
Today was a day that Kyle Rittenhouse was meant to face lady justice. This time, it was my mother who asked me:
“Do you think justice will be served?”
I felt my grandmothers’ weariness. This was a white man on trial because he decided to play cop. Did I think they would truly put him behind bars? I didn’t expect he would be in jail. I didn’t expect it when they arrested him, and when he raffled his jurors, I knew all hope was lost.
This case was a sham from the start. Kyle raffled his own jurors. Judge Schroeder barred prosecutors from referring to Kyle’s victims as such. The song “God Bless America” was playing as the defense attorney was speaking. Anyone with eyes could see that he was getting off. The judge didn’t want him to go to jail for what he did because in his eyes, this was justifiable.
So, when my mother had the groan of frustration when he was declared not guilty on all accounts, it was just another Friday to me.
As a black person, I am tired and angry that a country my ancestors built treats us and those that try to protect us this way. A country that says justice is blind repeatedly shows that justice only exists if it is to protect whiteness.
My heart goes out to the families that lost people they loved because a child decided to fuck around and play cop. They went through the heartbreak of losing someone to then having it cemented that America loves the pretense of defending property and gun laws more than actual human lives.
I no longer hope that I can save America and the people in it. To be honest, I am planning my escape from the racism and gun violence that we see daily. America was never for the black people they enslaved. They didn’t care for us when they slashed our backs out on that plantation, and they don’t care for us now as they gun us down with lights and cameras on them for the world to see.
What I do hope is that one day, those that built this country, those that had the land stolen from them — I hope they one day get true justice. Justice that isn’t blind and is truly just. It’s the least they deserve.