I’m so happy Derek Chauvin is locked away on all three charges. We’re making history. I want people to be aware of that. I live in downtown Minneapolis — on the afternoon of April 20, it was super quiet. I remember this feeling, like everyone was holding their breath. I was watching TV, sitting on the edge of my bed, and jumped up and down as the charges were read. I finally felt heard by the jury. We need to keep being heard, share our voices unapologetically and create justice in the system.
Then, I heard about Ma’Khia Bryant the next day. It was really, really hard. I resonate with her — as a foster youth, and as a Black woman.
We were just talking about how foster youth are seen as a threat to society, and especially if you are a person of color in the system, you’re seen as even more of a threat. Her death angered me. She’s already coming from a troubled background. They need to understand where she is coming from in that situation. She didn’t have to lose her life. She was in fight-or-flight mode. Instead of automatically fighting her, she needed more structure, more support, to be met with understanding of trauma. It really hurt me when I first found out — all this little girl needed was guidance and love.
It hurts me because I put myself in her shoes; I know that I didn’t have the structure in life that I needed at her age. In the foster care system, life is not how you want it to go. You’re not getting everything you need, and so much is out of your control.
There is so much cruelty within our systems, both policing and foster care. We need to educate ourselves on the history of these systems. We have to keep fighting for freedom. We can’t give up. Especially in the Black community, we have to learn to heal from systemic trauma, to learn to not let what happened to us define us. Hope is the only thing we have at the end of the day.
When I heard about Ma’Khia, I wondered when it’s going to stop. I really have no more words, I’m just frustrated. I want people’s voices to be heard right now, and I want change. Sympathy is nice, but justice is better.