On Sunday, June 25, 2017, citizens of the state of Maryland came together at Annapolis City Dock to call on our governor to declare a State of Emergency for the racial injustices occurring in melanated communities.
As I took the microphone to speak at yesterday’s Enough is Enough rally, in my head was a voice screaming: “WAAAAKKKKKEEE UPPPPPPPP! WAKE UP!” It was deafening, not to mention my nerves were causing me to forget everything I had planned to say! (My speech starts at 31:00 in linked video)
This is what I wanted to add after we, “The Collective,” spoke the names of our fallen melanated sisters and children: Every day a new “news” story about police brutality against men of color hits the airwaves or social media. Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, and now Philando Castile have become household names. When a melanated man or youth is killed by police under questionable circumstances, there is a chance the death will get some sort of media coverage, especially if there is video footage by bystanders. I have my theories why killings of men garner media attention – but that’s another conversation for another time!
I have always thought about females not getting the attention they should when it comes to “policing gone wrong,” but it came to a head for me with Korryn Gaines. This 23-year-old Randallstown woman was in her home with her 5-year-old son, in a standoff with the police, when she was killed. Why? Because of a warrant for a minor traffic stop. This gorgeous young mother was killed with her kindergarten-bound son in one arm and a weapon in the other. Does that happen to people? Yes, it does, especially if you are African American, Indigenous or a Latina/o.
Korryn’s death, along with those of other melanated women such as Renee Davis, Jacqueline Salyers, Jeanetta Riley, and now Charleena Lyles, shakes me to my core. What their deaths say is that melanated women can be killed on a whim, and no one will be held accountable. All of these women were mothers. Korryn also had a one-year-old and the other women were pregnant! Pregnant (screaming)!
The value of African American and Indigenous women since the time of enslavement (of both races) has been one of… well, the truth is, there has been none. Our women have never been valued or had value except for on the slave blocks. They are killed as if they are dogs in the street and, at times, left there – like Jacqueline Salyers. They mostly get no media coverage. None. And for those that do – their killings are justified despite the fact that – and let’s be honest – in white communities, heads would roll, people would be fired and high monetary settlements would be given if their women had experienced what these women had! White communities would not tolerate such an infringement on rights or life: especially not that of an unborn child.
I cannot put into words my anger and frustration. I cannot put into words the sorrow and despair I feel. The killings and mistreatment of melanated people and the normalization of their daily struggles and plights have been in the making for 500 years. From African babies being thrown overboard on the slave ships, to scalping the heads of Indigenous babies, to kicking melanated women in the streets during the civil rights movement to today, killing mothers and pregnant women of color has been a constant in this nation. But in our country’s history, these killings just have not been publicized on a state or national level. If it has, please, someone correct me.
The fact that we in this nation have literally no anger and feel no sense of urgency is blowing my mind and pissing me off. Sadly, I shake my head … no marches, no rallies, no panel discussions or forums or 60-minute specials on TV to figure out “What went wrong?“.
Melanated women and children are under attack. We are presumed guilty before innocent. We are seen as threatening. What is even scarier on some level is that we are not just seen as un-equals – we are seen as people not worthy of the benefit of the doubt. Animals have more status than that of the African American, Indigenous and Latino populations, who often have no voice, no advocates, no public support.
Korryn Gaines – she should have never happened (intentionally worded).
Maryland must declare a State of Emergency. The state of our state, as well as our nation, depends on it. We as a nation are in a State of Emergency in our state of urgency. We are barely hanging on by a thread. We are in a place for a “Perfect Storm” for the breakdown of our nation. The fall of our nation will not be from the outside (i.e., terrorism), but it will be from the inside. It will be because of racism and the breakdown of race relations. It will most likely be because of a death of an innocent (or not) under questionable circumstances by law enforcement.
*Governor Hogan! We “The Collective” are calling on you to declare a State of Emergency for Social Injustices! Maryland does not need another Korryn Gaines or Freddie Gray. We do not need any more riots. This is not an attack on you;it is us having faith in you. Faith that you will do the right thing to ensure that Maryland does not have the level of tragedies as other states have in the nation. You are Maryland’s chosen leader. We are depending on you to be on the right side of history. Let Maryland be known for being a proactive state instead of a reactive one!
I have more that I feel needs to be said. I will save that for another day.
Allie Moore is a mother of three and an educator, activist, and community organizer. She resides in St. Mary’s County where she is an entrepreneur and a founder of The Conversation Starters, an organization devoted to educating the masses on racism while simultaneously dismantling it.