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A Tribute To Ma’Khia Bryant

A Tribute To Ma’Khia Bryant

Less than an hour after George Floyd’s murderer was found guilty on all charges, and just days after Black Maternal Health Week, another black child was killed at the hands of the police. It’s up to each of us how we process this tragic loss, this preventable loss. You’re not alone in feeling heartbroken, exhausted, numb, angry, confused, devastated, enraged, tired, and the list goes on and on. There is no right way to feel right now, but allow yourself to do just that.

Ma’Khia Bryant’s mother, Paula Bryant

Honoring Ma’Khia Bryant

 Ma’Khia was a beautiful 16 year old child whose mother described her as “a very loving, peaceful little girl, and an honor roll student.” Our timelines are now flooded with Tik Tok videos and other media of Ma’Khia making hair tutorials, taking selfies, and just enjoying life. A life that was taken too soon. We will honor Ma’Khia by keeping her beautiful memories alive but also keeping up the fight for her justice. 

 

Confirmation That Derek Chauvin’s Conviction Is Not Enough 

I think it’s safe to say I had mixed feelings about the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial, and the immediate following of Ma’Khia Bryant’s death, was confirmation of all of the reservations I had towards celebrating.  Pleasantly surprised was undoubtedly the first emotion I felt, because rarely do we see police held accountable for their murders against black people. But I was also hesitant to be too celebratory because not only has the actual sentencing not been reached, but also because justice in just one case still feels like a needle in a haystack at the rate black people are being killed in the U.S. In a matter of minutes, we went from a feeling of relief with #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd, to more heartbreak in the form of #JusticeforMaKhiaBryant. 

 

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Over and Over Again We Say Protect Black Women 

And yes, this includes black girls. One of the most disheartening things of Ma’Khia’s death thus far is the commentary addressing her as a ‘woman,’ when she was clearly a child, and looking for ways to justify the gunshots that took her life. Time and time again, we see black women and girls portrayed as ‘angry’ or ‘too aggressive’. These stereotypes even show up in the medical field, hence the campaign Black Maternal Health Week that takes place yearly April 11th-17th. Statistically black women are more likely to die during childbirth than white women in the U.S. due to medical disparities. Not only is this a consistent reminder that there are no safe spaces for black women, even by those who are sworn to protect us, but just days after a week advocating for improved black maternal health, we watched another one of our babies get killed. 

Her mother wishes Ma’Khia to be remembered by the fact that she promoted peace. Black people constantly show love in a world that never ceases to fail us. I encourage my fellow black people to rest and heal as you deem necessary during these trying times. We’ve been fighting injustice and discrimination for so long, and we mustn’t forget to care for ourselves through it all. I encourage those supporting the fight for justice to say her name, sign petitions, and advocate for the reform of the systems that continue to fail us. 

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