I am writing this piece with a heavy heart after learning about not one nationally televised shooting of a Black man killed by police this week, but two.
This piece is the result of a lengthy battle I had with myself as to whether or not I should even provide my voice on this incident. But that battle soon ended after watching Sterling’s wife, now widow, give a statement as their son wept in the arms of family and friends.
That internal battle was ceased after hearing the innocent voice of a four-year-old girl comfort her mother, Diamond Reynolds who live streamed a police altercation that resulted in the death of her boyfriend Philando Castile, who according to CBS Minnesota, was shot by an officer on Wednesday during a traffic stop.
“It’s ok. I’m right here with you,” the four-year-old girl told her mom near the end of the 10-minute Facebook video.
The two minute MSNBC video was cut short at 37 seconds after I felt I could no longer handle the pain as my legs began to uncontrollably shake with my eyes filled with tears trying to maintain my composure at my desk.
As a Black woman born to a Black father with Black brothers, Black cousins and Black friends, all I could think about is how that could have been them.
In history class, I remember getting deeply saddened after learning about all the suffering that we as African-Americans had to overcome. I vividly recall the chills I got every time I saw a photo of my people being lynching and murdered as many watched, laughed and more importantly, did nothing.
But I’m really starting to wonder, what has changed?
Sterling represents the 558th police killing in America since January, as reported in The Counted, a project launched by The Guardian that tracks police killings across the nation, most of which are people of color.
And merely 24 hours later the tally increased with the death of Castile.
I’m tired of the cycle of Black men becoming viral hashtags, followed by protests and an investigation (the majority resulting in no conviction).
I’m tired of the fear I have when I walk into my seven-year-old brother’s room and see colorful play guns then reminding my mom to reiterate to him that he can not leave the house with them.
I’m tired of explaining to people with and without Brown skin that this is a problem while trying to memorize statistics to illustrate the severity of police brutality.
I’m tired of having the debate with people with and without Brown skin that although the scenarios, locations and names may change, this will continue to happen unless we actively create the change we wish to see.
I’m tired of searching for the perfect words that demonstrate my appreciation for law enforcement while also trying to prove the point that racial profiling is real (as if the statistics aren’t grueling enough).
Racial profiling is happening. Racial profiling is killing my people. Racial profiling is tearing us apart. Racial profiling has become a fatal assumption that many will continue to do with the lack of consequence.
Although racial profiling has not yet killed a family member of mine (that I am aware of in recent history), I do not have to wait until that happens to realize that something needs to change.
When we say Black Lives Matter, we’re not saying that ONLY Black Lives Matter. We’re simply saying we’re tired. Tired of dying in the arms of those sworn to protect us. Tired of dying simply because of the color of our skin.
In the words of the late Sandra A. Bland, who died last year while in police custody, “If all lives mattered, would there need to be a hashtag Black Lives Matter?”
WANT MORE FROM ESSENCE? Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.