It is hard, even as a writer, to put into words how I feel when I hear about another senseless death at the hands of police officers. Every single innocent person who is gunned down hurts my soul and the souls of every other sane, emphatic person in our country. The men and women in blue are supposed to protect us, they are supposed to serve us and yet, time after time we see videos of them killing us. It is infuriating. Although I have a hard time expressing how I feel about this preventable violence, a little girl in Charlotte, N.C. was able to say exactly what we have all been thinking.
Zianna Oliphant, a beautiful little girl with pigtails and a heart t-shirt on, climbed up a ladder to stand at a podium during a Charlotte City Council meeting and stunned the room. With tears streaming down her face she said:
It’s a shame that our fathers and mothers are killed and we can’t see them anymore. It’s a shame that we have to go to their graveyard and bury them. And we have tears. We shouldn’t have tears. We need our fathers and mothers to be by our side.
A little girl, with such a profoundly sad opinion. A little girl who should be playing with toys and neighborhood kids had to stand in front of a room full of angry adults and teach them a lesson. A little girl who should trust police but can’t because she has seen too many people die.
As a white American I empathize with the African-American community, but honestly, I will never know what this is like. I don’t have to worry about being murdered because my car broke down in the middle of the road. I don’t have to worry that I may be gunned down while picking my child up from the bus stop. I don’t have to worry that I may be killed because the police think I look suspicious. And frankly, if any white person says this is something they fear, they are lying to you.
These children should not know what it is like to lose a parent at the hands of the people who are supposed to keep them safe. We, as a nation, should be embarrassed that a tiny human had to make such a sad statement to us.
We need to do better.
Featured image via video screenshot