Last updated on April 4, 2021
U.S. Senate candidate, Jaime Harrison (D. SC), has an op-ed in The Root that addresses George Floyd and the years of police brutality that the black community has had to deal with:
Minneapolis, Minn.; Louisville, Ky.; Brunswick, Ga. These are the latest cities turned inside out because of the killing of innocent black men and women by members of law enforcement. Rightly, the outrage and the pain have spread to every corner of the nation, including cities and communities here in South Carolina.
This pain is chronic, inescapable, unyielding and personal. For as long as I have known myself, I have felt it. Like most black folks I’ve learned to live with it. But watching George Floyd being pinned to the ground, gasping for air, calling out for the loving embrace of his deceased mother shook me to my very core and forced me to realize that I can no longer tolerate the pain.
I’m tired. My community is tired. We are fed up.
When I flip on the news, I don’t see chaos; I see a community crying out in pain and seeking relief. The tears of parents or siblings praying for their missing loved ones reminds me of my childhood. I remember the hurt I saw in my grandmother’s eyes when she told me she had to huddle with family members as members of the Ku Klux Klan marched through her neighborhood with torches. To this day, I still feel the pain watching videos about Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy brutally murdered for whistling at a white woman—who turned out to be a liar—and whose round face reminds me of my own. I remember hearing the soul wrenching pain in the voice of Billie Holiday, the first time I listened to her song “Strange Fruit,” a ballad about “black bodies swinging in the southern breeze.”
Those are my memories and my pain, but what about my kids? My two beautiful black boys my wife and I are raising. How do I explain to my beautiful black sons they could be treated differently because of the color of their skin? How do I tell them this prejudice could incite those who are sworn to protect and serve them to one day hurt or kill them? While some parents fear stealing the innocence of their kids by dispelling the myths of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, black parents like me have a dangerous undertaking. It is my worst nightmare to know what could happen some day while my sons are walking home from the store, jogging in the neighborhood or being pulled over by the police.
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