A dear friend of mine, Melissa Duprey from the amazing new web series Brown Girls, responded to the recent acquittal of the officer that shot Philando Castile in this way:
“It is not to say that having a “guilty” verdict is justice when the prison industrial complex is the product of systemic racism. Prisons aren’t the answer. What a “not guilty” verdict means is that black people can’t even receive ACCOUNTABILITY of the violence unjustly done to them, the most basic level of restorative justice.
JUSTICE looks like the city paying for Castile’s child’s education and therapy she will need.
JUSTICE looks like not being racially profiled at all.”
As a person of color, I know I am unsafe, that my child could be take from me at any moment, that violence is a tool used to control people like me. I know it to be true. For many white people the lie that has been digested is that you are some how more safe, that your location as a wedge between power and people of color puts you in a position that protects you from harm. But the message is being sent to you as well.
Ally with these folks, question authority, demand your rights, what do you think will happen to you? Authority allows you to think that you are more autonomous so that you can help control your POC brothers and your sisters. To tell them to not talk back, to not move too fast, to walk softly.
I have read hundreds of posts from white people, extolling the injustice of it all. For years I’ve watched heads shake and tears to roll down white faces in disbelief of what is happening to those people, my people.
Our very existence is a point of contention, and we are killed for it.This is what it looks like to confront a power structure.
Real justice does not look like another cop rotting in a prison cell for killing my brother. Real justice does not look like more guns on the street or more white people marching in solidarity. Real justice is the knowledge that we are not separate.
Justice is committing to dismantling the practices that put power, money, and things over people.
Justice is refusing to be complicit.
Melissa is awesome.
In addition to being a police abolitionist, she is also a kick ass performer. You can catch her on Brown Girls, or running the things at Free Street Theater. Be on the look out for an in-depth interview in the coming months.