Today marks one year since George Floyd's murder. His death sparked a global unrest, galvanizing people from all walks of life in the Black Lives Matter movement. Floyd's trial began in March, following many months of public outcry and protests while in the midst of a global pandemic. On April 21, as the nation waited for the verdict, another black teenage girl lost her life in Columbus, OH.
The guilty verdict brought accountability to George Floyd's murder, but will his family and the countless other black and brown families who've lost their sons and daughters ever receive justice for the loss of their loved ones? Corporations made statements in mass in support of the movement, vowing to spend millions in initiatives and investments in black businesses. But has any real progress been made in the year following his death? Are the "Black Lives Matter" yard signs—once seen as a sign of solidarity— merely a sign of performative allyship?
RCQ Contributor, trans activist and Cincinnati Public Ally Ariel Mary Ann shares her response in the form of a monologue. Her character, Seraphina, struggles with the images she sees in the media and the trauma of watching another black person's last moments go viral.
Black lives matter? Does my life matter? I used to think so…. But now I’m not sure that it ever did. For the past couple of weeks all I’ve seen on TV and the news are people who look like me being killed for… just existing. Will this ever end?
I remember being a small child and my mother telling me ‘Seraphina, you are one of the greatest joys of my life and I love you so much. You’re talented, smart, and so beautiful but there will be white people and especially white cops who only see a target on your back simply because you are black’
When Mom said that, I was so confused because I was a 10-year-old kid, all I was concerned with at that time was watching The Cheetah Girls on Disney Channel. It wasn’t until the summer I turned 11 where I was playing in this park and a white police officer who was there told me I couldn’t play there because he assumed that I didn’t live in that neighborhood. He kept asking me did my parents know I was here and that I was disturbing the peace. After Mom found out, she was so angry and upset. It was that very moment where I saw what she was talking about… It was that very moment where I realized that I’m a black person living in white America.
Sometimes when I lay in bed late at night, I think about what happened to Breonna Taylor and I wonder, ‘what if that happened to me?’ White people don’t ever have to think about the police murdering them and it upsets me because they don’t know the true fear of seeing a white cop or getting pulled over by a white cop and wondering ‘Am I going to be the next hashtag on Twitter?’.
This is life as a black woman. This is life living in white America.