Social media has been used this past week to express anger, to create awareness, to report events, and ask questions. #Ferguson, #FergusonPolice, #NOJusticeNOPeace, #MikeBrown. The police shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri was the catalyst to change, to protest and riots. The St. Louis metropolitan area of Missouri, which comprises 90 municipalities, has struggled with racial tension for decades. The evidence of urban flight is on exhibit in the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park. Brown was a young African-American male. He was shot and killed by a white police officer. The circumstances surrounding Brown’s death has created a lot of questions about the use of force, the value of life and more.
This incident has made me uncomfortable, angry and inquisitive. Angry because “African-American men are taught this at a very early age. You have to be on guard, be careful around police. So if that’s what you’re taught to survive, then you’re not being taught that these are the good guys, these are the people who will protect you and serve you. You’re being taught that this is somebody who will probably kill you under certain circumstances.” From Alderman French interview in Mother Jones.
I am not saying that I have not had incidents where the police have protected me, but the first few minutes of any interaction with the police are cautious because of the uncertainty. As a victim and overcomer of domestic violence, I have called the police and received help. Unfortunately, I have to admit I have also got into an altercation with a police officer, where I was at fault. Thank goodness she thought #MyBlackLifeMatters. I hit her, and she could have responded with excessive force, but she choose not too. I am fortunate that my encounter was not with officer Darren Wilson. The officer I dealt looked through my coat pockets and saw I had a card in my pocket with the question “ What are three reasons women stay in domestic violence situations and a donate key life chain.” She realized I was a person with a story which was tripping that day. She realized our brief interaction did not display my real self. Mike Brown taking tobacco products from Ferguson Market and Liquor did not reveal his true self either.
#MyBlackLifeMatters because I have children, a common law husband, parents, and extended family. My family loves me and values me. My kids need a mother. I hope my existence impacts my community. I have hopes and dreams that I am yet to accomplish. #My BlackLifeMatters because I have a purpose. God created just like he created every other human being for a purpose.