Last night, the world celebrated justice finally being served when the guilty verdict was announced for former officer Derek Chauvin.
That celebration was short lived as it was simultaneously announced that 15-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was killed by an Ohio Police officer. 

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The horrendous killing was caught on video which quickly leaked to social media. The footage shows an officer firing his weapon within 11-seconds of arriving at the scene of a brawl where a girl appeared to lunge at someone with a knife. You can hear an officer yell, “Get down! Get down!” and then fires his weapon several times before a body drops.

When I was just a 15-year-old girl living in Harlem, it was an unspoken word that you had to protect yourself. I was taught to carry box cutters, blades under my tongue, and some idiot even gave me a pocket .22 when I was younger than that. I was forced to move to a neighborhood where people were struggling, angry and poor. This was a recipe for disaster for black teenage girls with no rules forced to navigate a dark city without direction.

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13-year-old me

I’ve been in violent situations that have escalated where cops have been called and pulled guns out on me and my teenage crew. I’ve watched friends get beat up by police while I was savagely ‘searched’ for drugs by male officers with tape over their badges. Yes, we were being teenagers, and yes laws may have been broken—not worth taking a young life.

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My 125th street crew

When I see the way officers react when they lay eyes on our copper skin, I don’t feel protected. They kill black women and girls the same way they kill the men. They judge us all the same. I don’t feel like celebrating this one small victory or being pacified for the moment. George Floyd’s murder was a clear view of the wickedness and evil-spirited views on minorities. They had no choice but to agree with all of the footage, witnesses and audio from Floyd pleading for air,

No, I don’t want to cheer when girls that look like me are murdered like animals. 

Girls who are struggling to grow and prosper in a world that places us on the bottom of everyone’s list.

Where we are forced to be ‘strong’ and not awarded the same luxuries in life as those who do significantly less. 

I wonder what would have happened if the officers that illegally searched my body had pulled the trigger on us instead?

Would I have blossomed into the woman I am today?

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Journalist Courtney Brown

Everyone deserves a chance to learn from their mistakes and grow. You could be taking the life of someone sent here to make a difference and change the world.