I’m mad. I’m mad at what you have endured. I’m mad someone tried to hurt you. I’m mad we live in a country that punished you for trying to defend yourself and your baby. I’m mad what happened to you echoes what happens to women around the country and world every single day. I’m mad that calling the police is so often ‘not an option’ because of what the police do in and don’t do for communities of color. I’m mad state violence operates just like domestic violence, where the ones who are supposed to look out for you are the ones who perpetuate the violence onto you. I’m mad “The War on Black Women” uses preposterous myths that ignore issues you have or may face while simultaneously attempting to overshadow your infinite power and beauty. I’m mad we live in a country where Black women experience domestic violence more than any other group. I’m mad it’s killing Black women. This country has ignored the violence Black women have withstood—sexual, domestic, psychological—for hundreds of years. Instead of supporting you and other Black women, this country turns a blind eye, criminalizes you and then tries to police your emotional responses.
None of this is acceptable.
I know how fierce and resilient you are. I know how fierce and resilient Black mothers are and have always been. I have seen how deep Black women’s love runs, for your children and everyone you care about, and how selfless that love is. I have seen how hard Black women fight. I know you deserve better. You deserve support. You deserve love. You deserve Justice.
When I first read your story and observed the hypocrisy of standing your ground, I thought about how sick and tired you must be. I thought about your survival. Then I thought about my own mother. My mother, like you, is a survivor; of psychological, emotional and perhaps physical abuse. I’m not sure about the latter because my family likes to live in the all-too-familiar silence when it comes to trauma—the silence that perpetuates the cycle of violence against women and mental health illnesses that can ensue.
Silence didn’t protect my mother. I can’t forgive a system that turned its back on my teenage self and my younger brother begging for help with my mother’s impending mental illness. I can’t forgive the system that criminalized my mother instead of serving and protecting her. She has been arrested several times for various things as she struggled with bipolar paranoid schizophrenia. She’s still struggling. I can’t forgive the system that turned around and failed to defend the honor of you, her and countless other women. Our fight for justice is about you. It’s about your baby. I know because I’m somebody’s baby.
I’m mad because I believe in forgiveness but what happened to you is not okay. What happened to Dessie Woods is not okay. What happened to Tiawanda Moore is not okay. What happened to CeCe McDonald is not okay.
As a nation, we have our work cut out for us. We need systems change at every level. We need to resist and challenge stereotypes about Black women. We need you free, and we’re going to keep fighting with you. We need your perseverance and survival. We need your rage.
I’m ready for solutions. I’m ready for Justice. I’m thinking about the power you possess. I’m thinking about you. I’m fighting for with you.
Keep on keeping on.
Johnathan D. Fields