We Are Tired
Ma’Khia was this young person who was watching the trial alongside the rest of us, probably just as terrified and nervous. Now she’s just gone, all in a few moments. On a day we were supposed to be able to catch our breath. When are we allowed to breathe? To stop holding our breath? We are tired.
I could breathe for a second, I felt a little lighter. But, I was still bracing for something else, because we all know that it doesn’t stop with one officer being convicted. The murders keep happening and we expect it, because police officers are almost never held accountable for their actions. It took 3 weeks to convict a man that was caught in 4k murdering a black man for no real reason besides white privilege and white supremacy. We are tired.
We all saw the look on his face as his guilty charges were confirmed by all 12 jurors. He just knew he was going to get away with it, and many Americans were just as shocked as he was. Because we understand how white privilege and white supremacy are woven into the fabric of every institution in this country. That is why they keep failing us, continually, even after barely holding one man accountable.
White supremacy is the reason it continues to fail black women and girls most especially, aided by black folks who like to deny black women justice. Less than 24 hours after Chavin was convicted, another black person was murdered, this time a young girl, Ma’Khia Bryant, who was terrified and asking for help. We are so tired.
The System Failed Ma'Khia
Multiple systems failed Ma’Khia, not just policing. Ma’Khia was failed by the institution long before she was murdered. She was a child of the foster care system, a system that derails the lives of children instead of bettering them. According to the Juvenile Law Center, black children are over-represented in this system. They are twice as likely as white kids to be placed in foster care. Black girls are particularly vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse. By the the time that they are 17, more than half of the children in the system have had run-ins with the law.
In addition, many foster kids that age out of the system end up on the streets, homeless. LGBTQ+ kids are also extremely vulnerable to being homeless and being abused in this system. Kids placed in group homes are 2.5x more likely to end up in the prison system, where fights often break out due to harassment from other kids. Much similar to the situation that forced Ma’Khia to take action to defend herself. Yes, defend herself. Something she probably had to do often as a child in the rough environment of the foster care system. Rough isn’t the word that even begins to describe how bad the system is.
Ma'Khia Was a Child Who Needed Help
There is no justification for her murder, nor the excessive adultification of black girls. Ma’Khia was a young child just trying to survive, to get through what was forced onto her. Taken from us. A teenager who liked to make hair tutorials and dancing videos on TikTok, much like every other teenager her age. She had a vibrant smile and radiant energy. Her mother describes her as intelligent, peaceful, and kind hearted.
Let us remember her this way, and not what other people will try to turn her into. Let us fight justice for her, and all the other women and girls killed by police. Ya’ll keep that same energy you had for George Floyd to get accountability and justice for Ma’Khia Bryant.