As US President Barak Obama struggles to put broken pieces back together–to bring peace and harmony in a country changing its brand name from land of the free, to land of blood thirsty racists–memories of lost love, emotional pain and black courage will linger in the wake of racist killings of black people.
MSN.Com reports the US President is set to convene a meeting at the White House which will bring together law enforcement officials, civil rights activists and other stakeholders to discuss harmony in the wake of racist murders of black people.
The website reports one particular memory in Minnesota which will probably stay alive for many years to come–the memory of a four-year old girl comforting her mother after both of them witnessed a white police officer kill an innocent black man in cold blood. The little girl witnessed the murder from the back seat of the victim’s car. “It’s gonna be OK,” the little girl told her mother.
But it turned out this was only chapter one on black courage in racist America. A nursing practitioner wrote the second chapter in Louisiana, in the Deep South–the heart of racist America.
The Minnesota woman who broadcast her fiancé’s final breaths after he was shot by a cop said on Sunday, July 10, 2016, her 4-year-old daughter keeps echoing that phrase.
The message of hope by Diamond Reynolds came during a phone call into a town hall-style, three-hour Sunday service at The Potter’s House, a predominantly black Dallas megachurch, MSN reports.
The video of her fiancé, Philando Castile, 32, dying behind the wheel of his car after being shot multiple times by a St. Anthony police officer, featured the 4-year-old Dae’Anna reassuring Reynolds.
“It’s OK Mommy,” she said from the backseat. “I’m right here with you.”
Five days after the shooting, the child is still telling her mother that same heartbreaking message, Reynolds said through tears.
“My daughter is an angel. She’s definitely more stronger than I am. It’s only because of him. I believe (Castile) is inside of her,” Reynolds said, her voice cracking.
“She hasn’t cried or anything. She just talks all positivity and keeps telling me. ‘It’s gonna be OK.’”
Her outrage, however, remained fierce as she spoke to around 10,000 parishioners inside the church — including Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Police Chief David Brown and at least one cop who survived Micah Johnson’s Thursday night assault that left five Dallas cops dead.
“To get it on camera, the immediate aftermath, was not for anything other than to be heard for justice,” Reynolds said. “Because at the end of the day, the people that are here to serve and protect us, we call upon them when we are in need, but when the officers are the ones that are hurting us, who do we call?”
The tough, honest dialogue came as President Obama and many others have called for healing between law enforcement and the black community.
Obama will travel to Dallas Tuesday and address an interfaith memorial service, the White House said on Sunday.
The nation’s traumatic week began with Alton Sterling being shot by cops who had pinned him down outside a Baton Rouge convenience store Tuesday evening.
Sterling’s aunt, who raised the 37-year-old man who was selling CDs before being killed, travelled to Dallas after learning Johnson had launched his attack on cops in response to the shootings of Sterling and Castile.
“I saw what happened here, I just had to come,” Saundra Sterling told The Dallas Morning News. “Let them know — we don’t promote violence.”
Reynolds and Sterling, still grieving over the police shootings separated by over 1,000 miles, now felt they had larger roles to play as a traumatized country grappled with how to restore trust with police officers.
“It instantly clicked to me that this was something bigger than myself and Phil,” Reynolds told the crowd.
The pastor of the church, Bishop T.D. Jakes, preached dialogue and empathy. He disputed the notion that “if you’re concerned about police brutality, you feel that way to the exclusion of appreciation of the good police officers who serve us every day,” according to the Dallas Morning News.
“I don’t want to be on this side or that side. I just want to stand for what is right,” he added.
In another heartbreaking moment, Jakes hugged a weeping Officer Steve Gentry, who saw his friend dead following Johnson’s barrage of bullets directed at cops supervising a protest through downtown Dallas against police violence.
“There’s been a lot of blame on both sides. It disturbs me. It keeps me up at night,” Gentry said. Johnson was killed by police who deployed a robot carrying a bomb.
“We need more applicants to the police force. We need more support from our community,” Justin Brandt of the Dallas Police recruiting unit told the crowd.
Across the Dallas-Fort Worth area, meanwhile, other churches held services honoring the five slain officers.
In Louisiana, a tall, graceful black woman was among more than a hundred people arrested while protesting police brutality in Baton Rouge on the shores of the great Mississippi river. She stood calm juxtaposed with two riot-geared cops reaching for her in a stunning photograph distributed by Reuters on Saturday, July 9, 2016.
The protester in the viral picture was later identified by friends and arrest records as Ieshia L. Evans, 35, a nurse and mother to a young boy.
The strangely serene moment — her sun dress fluttering in the breeze outside Baton Rouge Police Headquarters — was documented by freelance photographer Jonathan Bachman, who described the woman’s powerful “stand” against heavily armored officers to the Atlantic.
“It happened quickly, but I could tell that she wasn’t going to move, and it seemed like she was making her stand,” Bachman told the Atlantic.
Bachman believed he heard Evans pledge to those around her that she intended to step before the line of police and be arrested. He turned toward Evans in time to see the woman and snap the photo as she took on cops in the middle of the highway outside police headquarters, her two feet rooted firmly on the pavement.
Another angle of the arrest shows Evans calmly clutching her cell phone as the two Louisiana State Police troopers lurched toward her.
“She was there in her dress and you have two police officers in full riot gear,” Bachman added. “It wasn’t very violent. She didn’t say anything. She didn’t resist and the police didn’t drag her off.”
The photo — as it went viral — was frequently compared to a protester staring down a convoy of tanks in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
Evans was among around more than a hundred people — including Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson — released from the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail on Sunday after spending several hours in jail.
She later addressed her arrest in a Facebook post early Monday following an outpour of friends seeing Evans in the protest photo.
“I appreciate the well wishes and love, but this is the work of God,” wrote Evans, later describing herself as a proud licensed practional nurse. “I’m glad I’m alive and safe and that there were no casualties that I have witnessed firsthand.”
Evans did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It’s unclear what charges Evans will face following the arrest.
In Minneapolis, Minnesota, four Minneapolis officers refused to be present at a game where black plaers wore Tshirts honouring slain blacks. Sports Illustrated magazine reports that the police officers working a Minnesota Lynx game walked out of their jobs in response to comments made and shirts worn by the team’s players on Saturday. The Minneapolis Star Tribune first reported the walk out.
Lynx players wore shirts saying “Change starts with us, justice and accountability” as well as the phrase “Black Lives Matter” before their Saturday game against the Dallas Wings. Before the game, Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson said the players would wear the shirts “to honor and mourn the loss of precious American citizens and to plead change for all of us.”
The officers left their jobs to show disagreement with the players’ message.
Maya Moore, the 2014 WNBA MVP, said the team wore the shirts to highlight “a longtime problem of racial profiling.”
The players also spoke out against the killings of five police officers in Dallas last Thursday. The officers, who were independent contractors at the Lynx game, also removed themselves from consideration for working any future games.
“I commend them for it,” Lt. Bob Kroll of the Minneapolis Police Federation told the Star Tribune. The Target Center will still retain its own private security for the rest of the season.