I watched a black woman slice through chaos, and plumes of hot tear gas billowing, ignoring the cacophony of sirens blaring, shrill chants, batons meeting flesh, hooves against asphalt, and glass freshly shattered. She pushed through crowds thick with danger and marched up to officers looming equipped with armor and weaponry aimed; she is defiant, and unbroken.
The truth is the black woman is both the victim and protector.
Understand that the birth of a black child is a symphony of small miracles; it requires a mother learning to swim against a sea of oppression, laying in hospital beds unattended and disregarded, her thick blood persistently clotting as if ancestors have notified it, “you will likely be shed — do not go easily”. It was her whose slave body was sacrificed without anesthetic in the name of modern gynecology, yet she is 4 times more likely to die from the act of producing this child that is 4 times more likely to be killed by the police without cause.
She screams while marching forward for every knee on the neck of her sons, dipping them six feet below, drowning them in the hatred they tried so desperately to keep their heads above. She weeps in funerals and calls on a god that knows justice more intimately because there is no “Black Girl Magic”, spells or wizardry she possesses to resurrect the brutalized black bodies of her children, to flip caskets in chapels, and crumble the walls of her oppressors.
So today, she marches forward. Gruff voices bark orders at her, but she continues to stride.
She does not forget that she too has died at their hands. Breonna Taylor and Atatiana Jefferson. Sandra Bland and Yvette Smith. Aiyana Stanley-Jones and Shelley Frey.
There is no video. She is normally the one documenting and evidencing the terror for future justice. It is her voice piercing fire-lit streets over megaphone. It is she who scrawls slogans and names remembered on signs. But…who protects the protector?
She takes a last step forward. Her chest heaving as she recalls every son and daughter lost. Every future riddled with bullets. Every body choked to spirit and ash. She recalls George Floyd’s last words.
She kneels at the echo of her name. No more.