Over at The Nation, I wrote about the story of Renisha McBride, the 19-year-old Detroit native who, after getting into a car accident and going to the nearest house she could find seeking help, was shot in the face and killed in Dearborn Heights, MI. The homeowner and her killer have yet to be identified, though his lawyer has publicly stated the killing was “justified.” The killing of black teenagers always seems to be “justified.”
Due in part to Michigan’s own version of the Stand Your Ground law, made infamous after the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Florida, Renisha’s killer has not been arrested. In my post, I write:
We have been here before. Our history becomes our present so often it becomes difficult to distinguish the two. Politicians and cable news hosts and the naïvely colorblind ask us to forget, most of the country obliges, and black people, again, are left to piece together the fragments of history, suffering, rage, and pain so that we may have hope for something better.
Again we advocate for justice. Again we question what justice would even look like. Again we demand that black life be valued. Again we wonder why it never was in the first place. Again we weep, we pray, we march, we raise our voices. Again we prepare ourselves to be let down. And again we ask when will the moment come where we won’t have to go through this again.
Again, we wait on the answer.
While we wait, we can take it upon ourselves to sign these petitions, found at ColorofChange.org and UltraViolet, to demand a full investigation into Renisha’s death. She and her family deserve better than to be discarded as if her life didn’t matter. Renisha matters. Black women matter. Black deaths matter. The system is irrelevant if it can’t recognize these basic facts.
Mychal Denzel Smith is a Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute.