During a ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest Temple University students stage a fifteen-minute ‘Die-in’ protest at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
I cant’t stop reading the snippets about how they died.
“DuBose tried to drive away, and the officer shot him in the head.”
“South Lake Tahoe police shot Jackson as he tried to climb through a motel room window.”
“Miami Gardens police shot him after he refused to drop a broomstick handle. Hall was diagnosed with bipolar disease and schizophrenia, his family said.”
“A Burlington police officer said he shot at Steele’s family dog and struck Steele by accident.”
While learning more about Laquan McDonald’s death and the #BlackLivesMatter protests surrounding the shooting of Jamar Clark, I encountered the Washington Post website that chronicles the deaths of all 894 people who have been killed by police this year.
I keep staring at the number. Eight hundred and ninety-four people have been killed by police this year.
I think about justification. They were armed! And breaking the law! And they wouldn’t listen!
Yes, many of those killed were armed. Sure, we can assume those killed were breaking the law. But no, their deaths were neither warranted nor justified.
There must be a better way. I dare to suggest that safety and order mustn’t come at the cost of 894 lives.
While policies must shift and systems must be held accountable and violent ideologies must be dissolved, let’s begin with empathy and lament.
Read the death stories of those 894 people. When you learn about how they died, dare to wonder about how they lived. Wonder about their children and their parents. Wonder about the lifelong series of circumstances that led them to death by police force.
Wonder about the 30 unarmed black bodies that laid lifeless.
Wonder and allow yourself to ache. Look at their pictures. Don’t turn away. Sit with all 894.
Brittany lives in Charlottesville, VA with her wife Lindsay and their skeptical dog Eliza. She enjoys dancing, deconstructing destructive dominions of dominance, and alliterations. Above all else, Brittany tries to keep it real.