Truthout - April 22, 2021

The everyday violence of policing warrants our attention and frankly, our rage. And yet, it often feels like a steep uphill battle to discuss how police criminalize, target, harm, and kill Black girls and women all over the U.S.

... Ma’Khia deserved more than somewhat less-violent policing. She warranted care and investment. She deserved a full life.

Policing is never about care. And that is why so many are demanding that we rethink the meaning of public safety. Police do not make us safer. Police do not make Black children safer. Not at school. Not on university campuses. Not at home. As the body camera footage shows, police escalate. The killing of Ma’Khia is yet another painful reminder of why a growing number of people are focusing their energies on building alternatives to policing and demanding that we defund the police. It’s a reminder why so many people are agitating to remove the police from our homes, communities, and schools — and eventually abolish policing altogether.

Ma’Khia Bryant isn’t a mythical, perfect victim, nor does she need to be for us to unequivocally affirm that her death was unnecessary. She’s someone who forces us to contend with our values and challenge our continued investment in a system of policing that sees killing a Black girl with a knife as the only reasonable and effective response. The question we need to ask is not whether Reardon had the legal right to kill her, but rather: Didn’t Ma’Khia and the other people involved in the altercation deserve to live? Someone in that altercation called for help. We believe in a world where everyone involved lives to share their stories and their needs. We are fighting to build a world where Ma’Khia’s needs, and the needs of the girls around her, are met. We are fighting for a world in which Ma’Khia could still be making TikTok videos and showing off her hair-styling techniques. She should be here to see her video go viral. ...
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