A hug and the words “I love you” were all I got from my dad as he drove to work that day. Every morning we’d do this. We'd both say goodbye and I'd watch him through the blinds as he pulled out in his patrol car. We all knew the risks. It’s hard enough for the white ones but a black cop? They get the hate from both sides.
Uncle Tom. Sell out. Dirty pig. These were just some of the names he had been called. “Traitor” was the last.
I was at school in my AP Biology class when it happened. My phone started to go off, but Mrs. Smith doesn’t allow electronic devices so I ignored it and figured I’d see what was going on once the bell rang. Unknown to me, I wouldn’t have a chance. An announcement was heard from the office explaining that I needed to check out immediately. A little worried now, I quickly packed my things and hastily walked down the hall. Out of curiosity and paranoia I decided to check the messages I receive. Before I knew it I found myself sprinting to the office. Building one never felt so far away.
I’d heard stories of things like this before on TV and the radio. I never thought I’d be a part of one.
On the drive to the hospital all I could think of were the words “He’s been shot” glowing on my phone screen. What did that even mean? Was he shot in the foot or arm? Or was it something more serious?
When I got to the hospital it seemed as though my whole family was there. I looked straight at my mom. Her eyes were moist and tears were running down her face. That was when I knew.
Today I woke up. I got changed in a simple black dress bought just for today and went downstairs. It was really quiet. There was nothing to say. My mom tried to stay strong for me and my little brother but I could see right past the fake smile and makeup.
The car ride was quiet too. Not even the radio played any tunes.
Again, when we arrived our whole family was there to greet us. One by one they said their condolences and gave us a hug. It wasn’t until I saw my uncle that I lost all control of my emotions. They looked so much alike even though he was 5 years older than my dad. They even have the same smile. He wrapped me in his arms and let me use him as a human hanky for some time. Then the service started.
Everyone kept saying things I already knew. “He loved his family,” “He was devoted to his children”, he didn’t deserve to die this way”. All of these things were true, which made me mad. Why did he have to be so good? Why didn’t his black life matter?