Today I saw some cars blocking the road and something laying up ahead. I realized it was a woman pulling a dog’s leg back. I, then, see a woman running by my car all bloody holding a little white dog. I rolled down my passenger window and asked if she needed help. She said she needed to get to the vet, her dog was just attacked, her husband and other two dogs were still at the scene. I told her to get in my car and I pulled a U-ey with my dog and 2 year old in the back and drove them to the vet. The girl was in shock, telling me her dog’s intestines were falling out, it was her grandfather’s dog, and he had just died. I dropped her at the vet, where her aunt who worked there was waiting for us and they carried the pup.. Reba, in. I started to drive away and saw the girl alone on the veterinary steps, still in shock, and pulled back over. I got out, ran over and hugged her. I was wearing a red shirt anyway, so the blood didn’t matter.. she held me and cried.
On my way home, I saw the police at the scene. I pulled over again and gave them the girl’s name and number, which she had given me on our drive so I could check in on Reba. I saw a woman in shock there, too. The woman whose dog attacked Reba. I went over to her. She was fostering this dog and didn’t know he would be capable of pulling so hard, she’d lose the leash, and he would attack. She was heart broken for Reba, but also for this dog that she knew would most likely have to be put down. Later that day, I got a text thanking me again, and telling me that sadly, Reba did not make it. Two dog’s lives over in one day, and two women’s lives forever changed by this.
I have been struggling to find my voice in this protest. Yes, there’s a point. I feel there is no place for me, as someone who is against racism but respects the hell out of police. I feel your eye rolls.. but it’s true. Before you say, “it’s not about all lives right now”, please, understand that to a police officer, to his or her spouse, to his or her kids, that police officer is a direct target right now.
If I post #blacklivesmatter – the chant “fuck the police” rings in my ear, even as I watched the live coverage of the protest in Troy on Sunday, which was considered peaceful. If I post #bluelivesmatter – I get “it’s not about that, get your head out of your ass” and then I’m also assumed to be racist.
If I post nothing, now they’re saying that’s WORSE than being racist. Silence is the violence. So where do I fit?
I know there are corrupt cops. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen them get away with shit the regular civilian wouldn’t, let alone a black person. No, it’s not fair. Yes, we have to change it.
Every night, I sing “Humble and Kind” to my son, for 22 months now, and I will for 22 more years lol sometimes I show him the video, which is Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday montage of all races, all religions, and how we are all one. We are all in this together. This is only a small step in my goal to raise a humble and kind human being, humble and kind to ALL. It’s a small step, but it’s a step.
I will never know the struggles black people face with cops, but I will also never know the struggles that cops face with black communities. So no, I cannot sum up where I stand in a hashtag. It’s more complex than that.. I wonder what made the pitbull attack Reba today. If the pitbull was a cop, and Reba was a black man, my guess would be that that pitbull saw imminent danger in Reba, and even though there really was no threat, past experiences provoked a gut reaction.
If the pitbull was the black man and Reba was the police, I would again, have to guess that that pitbull was made to believe that Reba was a threat.
Maybe the pitbull originally belonged to a dog fighting owner and he was beaten if he didn’t rip into small animals? Or maybe he was homeless and starving on the street and his only source of food was small animals.. his past experiences provoked his gut reaction.
What Chauvin did was murder. No one is disputing that. And I hope that these protests- the peaceful ones- accomplish the fact that cops need to be held accountable for their actions. We need more training so that cops don’t take prior negative experiences with people of the black community with them to the next call, especially when that’s also in the black community. When wrongdoing is done, the same punishment should be enforced for a cop as it would be for whites, blacks, browns, etc. And as we take these strides forward, I also hope that we can change the perception of the cops for our youngsters. Think about how many times your child, or a child in the black community, has heard “you can’t trust the cops” or “they’re all pigs”. If I am working to take strides towards equality, teaching my son how to be respectful of all, shouldn’t cops get that same equality, too? Some will tell you they already do, or they get more than the rest of us, but the statistics of cop killings says otherwise.
On 9/11, how many cops said before heading into the towers, “well, wait- is there like, mostly just black people in there?” And during each and every school shooting, did the cops responding ever say, “before I decide to go in, is this a predominantly white school? Or black?” No. They just went in. And then they experience things like my brother-in-law does, where people driving by spit out of their car window at him while he’s in his police uniform.
You can say all you want that this protest is about and only about black lives.. but the chants, the destruction of police vehicles, the call to defund the police, has certainly changed the dynamic of “black lives matter” to “get rid of the cops”, which has left me in a sad place. I respect the police, I feel we need the police, I am grateful for the police. But I am made to feel like I can’t support the police AND want equality at the same time. Talking to a friend tonight, a black police officer who I have been trying to pick the brain of since all this started, he said something that really resonated with me. He said, “Cheryl, there’s really only one side that is making you choose.”
And with that, I hope you all stay safe, healthy, humble and kind.