Her Name is Ma'Khia Bryant
As the verdict was being read early Tuesday evening in the murder trial of George Floyd, 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was being shot and killed by police in Columbus, Ohio. Twenty seconds after arriving on the scene, Officer Nicholas Reardon shot Ma’Khia four times in the chest.
You don’t have to watch the video to know he could have – and should have – found another way to deescalate the situation. Many are wondering why couldn't she be subdued with non-lethal force. We wish the world was different for Black girls.
Since 2015, 48 Black women have been killed by the police. And only 2 charges. No convictions. By comparison, there have been five cases since 2015 in which officers were charged with manslaughter or murder in a shooting of a white woman and three of them resulted in a conviction.
It seems like never-ending days of intense grief, anger and fear. I can actually feel the rage tensing my body, as tears start to form at any given moment. It’s the same feeling with every report of a Black woman or girl killed by police. It is a pain that we, as Black people, are much too acquainted with. A pain that we have recycled over and over again. It hurts.
When faced with difficulty, we are always reminded that we are strong and that our ancestors survived much worse. Survival is important, no doubt. But our Black women and girls are not surviving. They are dying. They are not martyrs, by any means. They didn’t sacrifice their lives. They are being shot down like animals, extinguished in their sleep, and robbed of their very breath.
I keep seeing Ma’Khia’s smiling face, and it makes me hold up in prayer every Black woman I love. This beautiful child won’t even get a chance. A living, breathing young woman with her entire life ahead of her. She is now another number in someone’s report. Another hashtag. We will say her name, we will protest, we will march, and we will grieve. What will happen this time?
There is no where in BLACK LIVES MATTER that says only our lives matter. We know that all lives matter. At face value, ALL LIVES MATTER sounds like we're all in this together. Some may be using the phrase to suggest that all races should stand together against racism, which is a sentiment that comes from a good place. But the problem is, the phrase actually takes the focus away from those who need it. Saying "All Lives Matter" redirects the attention from Black lives, who are the ones in danger.
Black women and girls are killed by police. They have to be part of the national conversation about social justice, equality, and treatment of Black people at the hands of police. Ma'Khia Bryant's death on the day Derek Chauvin was found guilty is a reminder that we have a long way to go.
Ma’Khia Bryant. Breonna Taylor. Sandra Bland. Ayiana Jones. Atatiana Jefferson. Pamela Turner. Korryn Gaines. Yvette Smith. Miriam Carey. Shelley Frey. Darnisha Harris. Malissa Williams. Shantel Davis. Rekia Boyd. Tarika Wilson. Kathryn Johnston. Kendra James. Tyisha Miller.