I am thinking about his kids.
In nearly every way imaginable, this past week has been more difficult than the week I wrote the blog post at the start of this summer, which I entitled “America Must Reckon with Police.” That was the week when the video of George Floyd’s life being crushed by Minneapolis police. And that week, amidst prepping for finals made it nearly impossible to care or have any interest in any work I was doing. I didn’t need to see the video to be traumatized yet again to see the way with which the state continues to inflict terror upon Black bodies since its inception. I was heartbroken. I didn’t see any form of optimism to continue moving forward. A week later, after seeing countless protests, my optimism grew and I began my summer journey of political education. I learned about racial capitalism and read pieces from the likes of Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Robin DG Kelley, and countless others. I grounded my politics and my vision for the world for a vision of a world that empowers people to live lives with true fulfillment and joy.
And then on Sunday, I accidentally viewed the video of Jacob Blake get shot seven times in the back at point-blank range by a Kenosha, Wisconsin police officer.
This week has been an onslaught of grieving and anger for me. What tears I had are now dry. I am angry at the constant amount of public grieving that we as Black folks are asked to partake in. I am angry about the fact that it didn’t take 24 hours and Jacob Blake’s whole family were in front of cameras alongside lawyers that believe in policing. I am angry that our trauma is commodified, packaged, and sold for every opportunist imaginable, Black or white. I saw people back again posting Instagram infographics, demanding “accountability” of an institution that is never going to be accountable to anyone except its leaders, except capital.
When Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed two people this week in Kenosha, then proceeded to just walk around and amongst the police, I saw an extension of the state. From the founding of policing in America, it has primarily been white, armed militiamen who carried out the work of law enforcement. The only difference was in uniform. The child made it to a whole other state before the police decided to apprehend him. If it isn’t going to be a police officer that will kill you, it could be a child who wanted to be a cop and was months away from getting qualified immunity. He is merely the most recent example that perfectly exposes how this “justice” system continues to inflict violence upon our people and that the carceral state is functioning exactly as designed. There was no time in America where what he did was against this nation’s values; he acted with punitive and swift action that the state continues to inflict upon Black people and anyone that threatens the maintenance of the carceral state.
The collective grieving of Black people sunk even further yesterday at the passing of Chadwick Boseman. It’s devastating to reflect upon the jokes people made about him losing so much weight just months ago even though we all had public knowledge of him suffering from colon cancer already. It equally is just as devastating to know the fact that he felt like he could not be in a world where he could be open and honest about his struggle. He shouldn’t have had to do that, but we should always be been accepting and supportive of all people’s disabilities. I am disgusted at the politicization of his final tweet about the election and the demand to somehow claim this was his powerful send-off. No matter whether you’re alive or have passed, Black people are always extracted for our labor.
So if you ask me how I’m doing or how I’m feeling right now, honestly not good at all. I am exhausted, I am grieving, and I am angry. Whether it’s the continued ineffective protest in the NBA, the mass broadcasting of Black trauma, or countless other forms of performative slacktivism. But, what I continue to and will always place faith in is in the people. I have to be hopeful because there is no other way worth living. I run on that hope for the world I want to be a part of will happen one day. I am tired, and I’ll continue to take the rest necessary to keep on doing whatever I can to help see that vision become a reality. Forever in solidarity and struggling with all to end the carceral state.