Dear Breonna.

194 days. A hundred and ninety-four days.

From the first time I saw your face pop up on my television screen, I knew you. 

 

There was something in the grace of your smile and the innocence of your eyes that made this instant connection. I was drawn to everything that is you; a daughter, a sister, a best friend, a girlfriend, and most importantly, a human being.

 

And as you became fully integrated into my life, you became my sister, my mother, my best friend, and most importantly, me.

 

Everytime I see your face, I hear Talk to Her, by India Aarie.

 

“She’s somebody’s baby/ She’s somebody sister/She’s somebody’s mama.”

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A testament to who you are, who you were, and the role you never got to play. And then when I hear your laugh, or your friends explaining the beautiful soul that was taken away from us, I hear Raheem Devaughn’s Woman.

 

“She’s gotta be street smart and educated/ Gotta good head on her shoulders.”

 

Understanding that the next phase was so suddenly taken from you, makes it so hard to say your name. When all you wanted to do was live your life the best way you knew how. 

 

To say your name in a time where your life meant nothing but the battered walls of your neighbor’s apartment, I feel that I have let you down. I feel that I let you succumb to the hardships and adversities, we as black women, tried so hard to protect you from. 

I keep thinking in the back of my mind, maybe I didn’t say it enough or didn’t march enough, or I was too self-conscious to have you present in every conversation. Maybe I was too ashamed to bring you up because I felt people were tired of having this same conversation. 

 

Talib Kweli said it best in her song, Black Girl Pain.

“My mama said life would be so hard

Growing up days as a Black girl scarred

In every way, still; you’ve come so far

They just know the name they don’t know the pain.”

But then this moment happened. As I waited patiently for CNN to announce the results of the indictment, my breath shortened, clenching on to the last ounce of hope I had left, and then it was announced. 

 

When the indictment was ready, there was only one verse that came to mind,

 

“And since we all came from a woman/

Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman/

I wonder why we take from our women/

Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?”

 

Followed by..

 

“I think it’s time to kill for our women/

Time to heal our women, be real to our women.”

 

My father and I, on opposite sides of our living room, fell into emptiness. Not silence, emptiness. A change we were praying for is filled with another revolving door of another Black woman’s death never given the justice she deserves.

 

Usually, the day would end with an abundance of conversations, where he would explain to me that this can’t be your reason to stop. That you have to keep going. But it didn’t. It ended just like every other day, finishing my morning meetings and writing up my articles for work, but I couldn’t continue. 

 

I couldn’t feel anything. I was a warm corpse blissfully running away from the reality that was set before me. Being a Black woman in this country is being nothing. That’s what this indictment tells us. 

 

It tells Black women, specifically dark-skinned Black women, that they can’t go to sleep without fearing for their lives. 

 

Your neighbor’s walls, an inanimate object, is valued more than the living, breathing life you look to in the mirror. That is the price that this indictment has put on a Black woman’s life in this country. 

Dear Breonna, 

 

I’m sorry that you had to be the martyr of a reality that none of us want to wake up to.

I’m sorry that the revolving door now involves you,

I’m sorry that the heart that now beats with every Black woman now, couldn’t beat on her own. 

I’m sorry you couldn’t see your next birthday. 

Breonna, I don’t know what else to say. 

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