I sat in silence. My spirit was completely broken as I watched Diamond Reynolds calmly speaking to the police officer who had just shot into her car, killing her fiancé Philando Castile. My heart hurt for her, and their four-year-old daughter who witnessed the horrific event. I cried as I remembered that just hours earlier Quinyetta McMillon, stood next to her inconsolable son speaking to the press about the shooting death of his father, Alton Sterling. As I began to think about all the hurt they must be feeling, I realized this is a scenario all too common for black women. Before Diamond and Quinyetta, there was Geneva Reed-Veal (mother of Sandra Bland). Before Geneva, there was Samaria Rice (mother of Tamir Rice), and before Samaria were Lesley McSpadden (mother of Michael Brown), Gwen Carr (mother of Eric Garner), Esaw Garner (wife of Eric Garner), Sabrina Fulton (mother of Trayvon Martin), and Nicole Pautree-Bell (fiancé of Sean Bell). Each woman having lost a spouse or a child to senseless acts of violence. Each one left to pick up the pieces, and speak on behalf of loved ones whose voices were silenced by the ignorant and the scared.
I sat in silence, and thought about how much strength these women must need, not only to accept the idea of life without their loved ones, but to guide their children, and other family members through the grieving process. I thought about how difficult it must be for these women to explain to brothers and sisters and cousins and aunties and uncles why a loved one isn’t coming home anymore—all while struggling to find an explanation for this unfathomable truth themselves.
And so today, as more names are added to the list, we speak the names of these brave women and the many others who are doing what to some of us would seem impossible.
To the mother of Tyre King. To the sisters, and daughters of Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott: We stand with you, mourning the loss of our brotha’s, and pleading with God for strength on behalf of you— our sistah’s. We kneel in prayer for you, knowing that we are not exempt…understanding that we are just one bullet away from sharing your experience.