Dear Korryn,

The most disrespected person in America, is the black woman. The most un-protected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America, is the black woman -Malcolm X

I feel you girl. I don’t know the play by play of what happened in your apartment, but I know you didn’t have to die that day.

I’m no longer shocked by the justification of black lives being taken unjustly. Weeks ago, we were all enraged to have to once again witness the murder of someone who looks like us. We were fuming for a moment, but time passed, and the fury subsided a little. We tucked it away, regrettably knowing we will be able to revisit those emotions again some time soon. I find when you truly let what is really happening in this world soak in, it fucks with you. So we needed some laughs, a distraction, some self care, caught some Pokemon. We went on with our lives. In a way, we had to.

A few of us wondered how we could make a change. We felt helpless, overwhelmed, and heartbroken. Nonetheless, like many times before, we pressed on until…it happenned again.

This time, it was your name that I saw as a hash tag when I scrolled through instagram. I didn’t want to know at first. These past few weeks had been tough on me. I felt traumatized. I wished I had never watched the videos of Philando and Alton’s senseless murders.

So I admit, when I saw your name, I kept scrolling. I had to get ready for work, and couldn’t deal with whatever story was to follow if I inquired about your hashtag.

As the day went on, I saw your name over and over again. #KorrynGaines #blacklivesmatter #nojusticenopeace. I thought to myself, “here we go again.”

I have certain feelings when it comes to social media activism. There is no way to judge someone’s true dedication to social justice by their posts, but I would be insincere if I say I don’t notice a trend, when the news of a cop taking a black life goes viral.

Korryn, I avoided you for a few days, and I’m sorry. You didn’t deserve that. It took me a few days to muster up the courage to learn about you.

When I finally clicked on your hash tag, a rush of emotions came over me as I scrolled through post after post of you with your son by your side. To know he was there with you and witnessed your death truly breaks my heart. Like, I can feel it. My heart hurts for your son.

I learned that you were really ‘bout that life. I felt sad that I missed out on you while you were here. I was inspired to see a young woman educated and not fearful to demand respect and challenge the cowards that police our communities daily.

I watched as you lived in constant protest of what you knew was wrong, and I respect it. I’ve witnessed other black people justify your death calling you a crazy, trouble maker. “She should’ve just…”

Then I was pissed. Just last week we watched as Charles Kinsley lay on the ground, empty hands in the air, pleading with the police not to shoot him. We watched as he clearly stated his profession, detailing the situation that lay before them. And still. They shot him, with no consequences. So I ask, what should we really just do?

Specifically, when a black woman asserts herself, able to prove a point using facts, and demands respect; she is written off as angry, crazy, and emotionally unstable.

To me it doesn’t matter if you were armed or not. Your weapon was legal, and you were in your own home. The only offense you were guilty of was failure to appear in court over a traffic violation.

To have a swat team show up at your door, like you are Scarface in the flesh, is beyond me.

To prepare for a battle, with a 23- year old mother is beyond me.

To equip officers with body cams, for them not to use them is beyond me.

We don’t even have the death penalty in all states, but black lives are taken swiftly with no real proof of a crime actually being committed.

Korryn, I feel you.

Why is it that white mass murderers are able to be taken alive and live out their right to await trial, but black people armed or unarmed, face their judge and jury in the midst of committing no crime?

Leaving us to only rely on “their” version of the story. Nah.

Even if there was no account of what happened in your apartment that day, I WOULD NOT BELIEVE THE POLICE!

We’ve seen them hide footage of Laquan McDonald’s murder.

We’ve seen them try to make Sandra Bland out to be just like you- a troubled, emotionally unstable angry black woman that had so much going for her, but took her own life instead.

We’ve seen them blame Freddy Gray for the breaking of his own spinal cord, pay out a wrongful death lawsuit, and convict no one of any wrong doing.

So Korryn, I feel you.

Why would I believe that they didn’t show up that day to kill you. They definitely came prepared to. All for a traffic violation.

Why should we have to live our lives with our heads hanging low, speaking timidly, and careful of every move we make, in hopes that police don’t feel threatened by our very presence.

That is not freedom.

Korryn , I feel you.

I admire you, and your sacrifice. I admire your conviction to live your life free.

I pray for your son to heal from the horror he’s witnessed. I pray he does not have a cold heart filled with vengeance. I pray he will have your spirit to stand up for what he believes is right. I pray he has your courage.

Korryn, I saw myself in you.

Outspoken, opinionated, and unafraid to ask questions. I’m sad your life was taken. You won’t be forgotten. I won’t tuck away your story. One day, we gon’ be alright.

#KorrynGaines #blacklivesmatter #nojusticenopeace #Imwithher