To our re:power community,
It’s taken some time for me to weigh in on this because we don’t want to be another organization using tragedy to promote our work or to rile people up. And we don’t want to add to the trauma.
But as hard as I tried to not say anything, I’ve been moved to speak. Because the injustices Black people and other communities pushed to the margins continue to face are why re:power exists, they are why I do this work.
A couple of weeks ago, a SWAT team of the Minnesota Police Department quietly entered a home before 7 AM and within seconds murdered 22-year-old Amir Locke.
I’m not going to spend my time, or yours, detailing the various circumstances that led to Amir’s death. There is enough of that happening in the news/media. From my vantage point, there is no justification for Amir’s killing. I don’t want to engage in the nitpicking of whether Amir had a gun, was it legally purchased, where was it at the time of shooting, etc. I don’t need to get into that, because it’s clear to me, and you, that the system isn’t set up to protect the lives of people like Amir. The lives that were protected last week were the officers. Protected at any cost. Even if the cost is an innocent life, like Amir’s.
What I want to do is to say that Amir mattered. Amir’s life mattered. And it still matters. Amir’s life was callously and carelessly taken away in a matter of seconds, but that doesn’t mean that we forget him. Amir was an aspiring music artist who had planned to move to Dallas to be closer to his mother. He was 22 years old.
Amir is not just another statistic, another number, another news story that continues to desensitize us. Amir was a human being. He is survived by his family, his friends, his community… and us. We say his name, just like we continue to say Breonna, George, Tamir, Sandra, Daunte, Eric, Freddie and so many others
I’m doing all I can to center Amir as a person. And as I do that, the question I still sit with is this—why are the people who are hired to protect us, so willing to kill us without regard? The answer I keep coming up with is: they aren’t hired to protect us. At least not me, not Black and Brown people, not my people.
Black people—we are forced to move through this world with no protection and no safety. We don’t get the opportunity to explain ourselves or justify our actions. Due process just isn’t a part of our reality. Our trials are over before they even start, because the system wasn’t built for us to begin with.
I don’t have all the answers. Sometimes it is difficult for me to remember what the work I’m doing is in service of, when nothing around me seems to change. Sometimes the unknown of a new system feels overwhelming—what will that be like? It can be scary to try and embark on something new and leave behind something that’s already built.
But this right here—this doesn’t work. Not for me. And not for you. It doesn’t work for any of us. And I’m tired of this cycle.
So today, I’m remembering Amir and those who were killed that came before him. I’m holding our Black children in my heart, portals of our future. I hope you will take some time to do just that. Continue to tend to your physical and mental health. Replenish your enduring strength. Connect to our ancestors. And recommit yourself to this fight.
We speak your name, Amir.