R.I.P. Jazmine Barnes.
It is heartbreaking to see such a tiny casket and know that an innocent child’s life was ended without cause.
It is a story that many of us have known about since the day it happened.
On December 30th: Jazmine, her mom and her sisters were returning from the store when their car was riddled with bullets. While her mom was also shot, only seven year old Jazmine was killed in this tragedy which is now being explained away as a case of mistaken identity.
Now normally I avoid being this person. But there is something about this particular incident that has gotten to me.
In a vacuum, I feel that I somewhat understand how we, in the Black community, got here. And by here I mean to the point where violence in some areas seems to be the norm.
I get it. I understand.
But this has to be said regarding this situation.
If it wasn’t for the fact that the world originally thought the shooter was White, this tragic story would have been shortlived and passed over.
No. I am not one who quantifies every murder the same.
There are crimes of passion due to relationships, violence due to beef stemming from whatever the case may be, and there are also situations where business interests/money issues are at hand.
All murders end a life. Fact.
Still I get how we can view the circumstances and feel a whole different way about what happened.
But our ears definitively perk up when we hear that a White man killed a Black child. And for very good reason.
History. Repeating itself. A multi-generational form of PTSD.
And of course those particular murders support our narrative. They reinforce what we know to be true and convey what we are still trying to convince others of every single day.
So in this situation, I’m 99% sure that our angst heightened with the idea that a White man stole the life of one of our babies.
I’m with it. I get it. But I have to point this out in the moment.
If the story had been presented to many of us with this caption:
“7 year old murdered in a drive by shooting”
…we would have been bothered, irritated, and then the majority of us would have moved on after a day.
We have to take a bit of responsibility for that.
Do the lives taken by us matter to us as much as the lives taken by others?
Do the lives of our babies matter in the moments when we, in the most direct form and specific to the incident (the alleged shooter is Black), are to blame?
This is not to shame or ridicule. But this is to point out what is right in front of us.
We have to care. Every time.
We have to reach out. Every time.
Athletes, entertainers, and those with the largest audience have to show up. Every time.
…until there aren’t anymore tragic deaths of children at the hands of any random individual with access to a gun.
No Parent Should Have To Plan A Seven Year Old’s Funeral.