BY LIZZA RODRIGUEZ
In the month of August alone, American Police extrajudicially murdered close to 100 people, most of whom were black and brown folxs. Police brutality in the 21st century has been revealed as the nation state’s ahistorical performance; local and state law enforcement officials direct the show with the help of military grade equipment and existing racist public policy. The actors, most black and brown, queer, disabled and immigrant bodies, all disenfranchised and vulnerable to state abuse, charged with the task of daring to be alive. The roles remain stagnant. The showings are everywhere.
Naturally, our communities then must become the stage– what the violent murders of Korryn Gaines, Anthony Hill, and Deborah Danner show us, the “others”, is that we are not worthy of our own bodies. We are assumed devils in costume, thieves in the night, complacent and docile inhabitants of sufferings. We are the masks..in order to exist, we must not resist.
The world watched idly by as St Anthony police in Minnesota put on America’s infamous performance Philando Castile was shot at intimate range by a police officer during a traffic stop for reaching for his wallet. His girlfriend, a black woman, dared to resist by tasking herself with live streaming his death, knowing that her partner’s body and would be subsequently be consumed and picked over like a dead bird by the media.
The reviews are in: Black folks, women in particular, are tasked with one of the most difficult roles; the rules of existence and survival are a trick question:
If you comply, you may be shot.
If you verbally resist, you may be shot.
If you physically resist, you may be shot.
For folks of color, this is a crucial historical moment. Your silence is violent.
I write this in anger. In solidarity. In flames. Say their names, the stage is burning, fight the fire.
Lizza Rodriguez is senior at Sarah Lawrence College, with a particular academic focus in the African Diaspora. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, yet strictly Dominican, Lizza has made a home of New York and her campus community. In her spare time, you can find Lizza making a copious amount of Dominican food and reclaiming gendered slurs with her friends in AC-1 (AC Fun). Aside from writing for Even If, Lizza is also a poetry editor for the Sarah Lawrence Review. Read her last #EvenIfSLC piece here.