I do not imagine I am the only person tired of hearing about innocent black men and women being killed by police officers. It is a heartbreak that I must read about over and over, again and again; I can hardly imagine the toll it takes on the communities and the families who experienced it. That is why I must read about it, and I must keep remembering the names of those killed unjustly: these murders show a symptom of the uniquely American barbarism, the racism that has plagued our nation and our law enforcement since its conception. These killings are not an aberration or a fluke; they are a symptom, a cause and an effect of the way our law enforcement and justice system was designed.
Last week, police officers killed 22-year-old Amir Locke during the execution — an ironic turn of phrase — of a no-knock warrant, the same type of warrant that was responsible for the death of Breonna Taylor. Like Breonna, Amir was not the intended target of the warrant, but in cruelty he was its victim. “If we learned anything from Breonna Taylor,” says attorney Ben Crump, who has taken on Amir’s case, “it is that no-knock warrants have deadly consequences for innocent, law-abiding Black citizens.”
So we must remember the names of Amir Locke, and of Sandra Bland, Daunte Wright, Daniel Prude, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, George Floyd; I could go on. All of these men and women should be alive today. It should not take endless, countless, perpetual death and dismay for white America to open its eyes to the pain we, and the system that we built, and the system that was built in our name, are inflicting upon Black America. Nothing will change if these systemic, foundational issues are not addressed. And yet not only are calls for justice not being addressed, they are being outright and blatantly ignored. Contrary to what Nacy Pelosi may claim from her pulpit, George Floyd did not “sacrifice his life for justice”; he was murdered, and he should still be alive. He should not have needed to be murdered in order for the nation and the world to take notice of the injustices of America. Yet even if his murder was a sacrifice, it would have been a wasted one, because fundamentally, nothing has changed. Can you imagine the frustration? The exhaustion? The agony?