COLUMN: The Fear of Injustice


Being a black woman, I am very afraid. I am afraid that in my future I will never get to see an unjustifiable killing by a police officer, with the officer behind bars. I am afraid that fifteen years from now, I will have to tell my children to be afraid of the people who are paid to protect you. I am afraid that black lives will never matter. 

On July 13, 2013, that was the day I understood the injustices that African-Americans face. I was sitting at the hair salon, preparing for my dad’s union with his wife. Being 13 I was aware of racism and some of the social problems that I faced as an African-American. I knew that we were once slaves, then we were freed by Abraham Lincoln and that the Civil Rights movement was supposed to make us equal. What I did not know is that 7 years later, I would understand that we are not really “free” and are not really “equal”. 

While I was preparing to finally accept my new dad’s new life with his wife, most Americans across the world were awaiting to accept the verdict of murder. You may not remember the day, but do you recall the name? His name was Trayvon Martin, and his murderer is George Zimmerman.

Now this was not a killing by a police officer, but this is one of the first cases that started the trail of injustice for African-American men and women. A year later from a jury finding Zimmerman not guilty after shooting unarmed Trayvon, Eric Garner let out his last words of “I can’t breathe” as a police officer holds him in a choke hold. Then less than a month later, people in Ferguson protested for Michael Brown and many others unarmed and murdered by the police. Five years later Garner’s killer, Daniel Pantaleo, was never charged or convicted, just stripped of his badge and commission. Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Brown, was exonerated.

The trend of this type of injustice continued for years after these cases and even decades before these cases. I hope we have not forgotten the verdict of Rodney King caused the LA riots. In the year 2020 it was the killing of George Floyd and the acquittal of Breonna Taylor when I learned to fear injustice. Across everyone’s screens we watched Floyd lose his last breath, under the knee of a police officer. His killers were not arrested or charged until riots and protests waved across America. We saw Breonna’s family mourn her death after wrongfully being killed in a raid. 

With all these chants of “Black lives matter! No Justice No Peace!” and the repeated stress that the police are using excessive force we have yet to see justice for any of these stolen lives. You would think the system could see the unfair treatment of the African-American community, but yet no convictions. I feel the fear of injustice flash before me every time I see a badge and flashing lights. We don’t deserve to be afraid anymore, we deserve to be free.