The #SandraBland tragedy ripped my heart apart. As the facts unfold — or remain hidden — I know the truth. I cannot trust the information that we receive about race and race relations in this country. The reality lies in the unexplained obituaries: my skin-tone and my gender make me a target for a death sentence—the most terrifying realization of my 22-year-old life in America.
I am not as safe as I thought I was. My college degree, my articulate tongue, and my résumé offer no protection against the ruthless claws of White supremacy and of patriarchy. I resemble #SandraBland and I can’t ignore what happened to her and so many others.
The twittersphere and the Internet bubble with speculation about how #SandraBland died, her past, and who she was the minute before she lost her life. The only theory that matters to me relates to humanity: A woman of color died in police custody.
I do not want pictures of her last meal, last photo, last bedroom, last words; I do not want video of the police officer (as choppy and suspicious as it might be). I want answers. I want action. These speculations and half-answered questions serve as distractions. Justice stands quietly off stage waiting to speak.
What will Texas do to end unlawful arrests? When will Texas Corrections take responsibility for a woman dying in their custody? What are WE (Black community) going to do to start the healing process? How will WE (Black community) support each other, as our lives continue to be tossed to the wayside? How will WE (black community) going to protect ourselves? What am I going to do?
For the first time I feel like a true stranger in this stolen land. I never grasped the true cost of empowering and uplifting my community. Someone please tell me that this is all a misunderstanding and that I am safe. I see only blank stares and shaking heads. Denial sounds really good right about now, but I no longer feel safe.
#IfIdieinpolicecustody demand results for the consequences of my death like a human being lost, not recycled questions that don’t bring about Justice. I deserve more than that. And so does #SandraBland.
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Tayllor Johnson currently resides in New York City where she has begun her journey into Poet. Passion. Period. In between those learning moments, she sometimes has just enough time to jot a few lines...