While scrolling through the Gram this morning, I realized I hadn’t heard much about the victims of Kyle Rittenhouse. The 17-year-old public safety cadet hoping to become a future police officer, that killed 26-year-old Anthony Huber and 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum while injuring 26-year-old Gaige Grosskreutz, who were attending a BLM rally in Kenosha, Wisconsin last week, after the almost fatal shooting of 30-year-old Jacob Blake, a father of 6, who was hit four times in the back, in front of three of his children, by police officer, Rusten Shesky, August 23rd.
The Value of Black Lives
Ordinarily, victims, in this instance, are Black. Meaning something happened to a Black person while protesting on behalf of Black people. However, these were two white men who were killed while expressing their support of the BLM movement. That is a precarious position to be in, especially for their families and loved ones. I say that because these parents had their children taken...because of Black people. For their respective communities to know that you lost your son because he was protesting for Black people, has to be sobering. And though it feels awkward writing that, it is the truth, nonetheless. It's awkward because therein lies the battle - for whites to see the value in Black life. For whites to see and treat us as they would their own is the reason for the movement. Yet for these parents, to know that they won’t have their child to hug, kiss, chat, or admire because of the movement is an unfathomable heartbreak within itself. But to know why your child was killed has to be a heartbreak all its own. To have to explain that your child was murdered while protesting in support of the Black Lives Matter movement…to another white person, whose views may differ from yours or that of your son, has to be a harsh reality. To us, their sons mean the world, but to some,they died in vain.
I say that because to SOME, I want to say MOST, but to SOME whites, we don’t matter. I mean, yes, they’ll post, repost, and may even cordially interact with us, but to partner with, hire, promote, favor, do business with, invest in and/or put their support on public display, is another level that SOME aren't willing to do. Yet to Mr./Mrs. Huber and Rosenbaum, their sons were killed because they weren't embarrassed or afraid to put their support on display. Not to mention that their child’s killer was someone who opposed their support and who didn't see the value in Black lives, adds a different twist. Because unfortunately, when we think of violence, we've been programmed to think of young Black men. Yet their sons were killed by a young white man. Thus, this was a white-on-white hate crime; just the opposite of why the movement started in the first place. As a nation, this hit different.
Dear Mr./Mrs. Huber and Rosenbaum
My heart goes out to Mr./Mrs. Huber and Rosenbaum because this is now their reality, and this is how their sons will be remembered. And though now, their story will be told in light of their heroic acts, later on they’ll have to grapple with the fact that had they not been at the protest, had they not seen the value in Black lives, their sons would still be alive today. It is at this point that Mr./Mrs. Huber and Rosenbaum will have to reevaluate or double down on their assessment of Black lives. Again, I know that sounds crude, but in their quiet time, they'll inevitably come to that conclusion. And when they do, it is my prayer that they meet God there. My prayer is that He help them to see that their sons didn’t die in vain, that Black lives do matters and that their white sons proved it. My prayer is that as parents they know they contributed to raising an honorable human being.
Thank you Anthony and Joseph! As a Black woman, it’s so good to know that good white people exist, and even more so, that those cool white boys did what Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Thank you for putting your love for my people on public display and thank you for being an ally of the movement.
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