BLACK LIVES MATTER, BLACK FAMILIES MATTER, BLACK BABIES MATTER
June 30, 2015
A recent video has been circulating showing a Black twenty-something-year-old man, Ellis Smith, being arrested for not paying train fare for the young girl in his arms, presumably his daughter. Some media outlets report that a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority officer approached Smith and told him to give his name, get off the train, and accept a ticket. Smith refused. The officer tried to forcefully remove Smith, even slamming him up against the side of the train—the whole time the little girl, who is no more than 3-years-old, remained in his arms. After more than a dozen officers arrived, responding to a call for back up, Smith was handcuffed and dragged off the train.
With all the angst and racially charged unrest that has been happening in our country, many of us have asked where does it end? We have seen our Black men killed, our Black women beaten, our Black houses of faith ravaged. At each tragedy, we ask what could possible happen next? Who could possibly be a target next? Then we see this alarming video of this disturbing mishandling of, yes, another Black man, but what’s more, the mishandling of this Black child. While there was no direct physical trauma caused to this little girl, the blatant disregard for her father as she held on to him during his attack, tells us what certain populations think of other populations. So while this little girl may not have bruises to her body, her experience is very symbolic to that of many of our young sons and daughters– being helpless and disregarded. These officers had no regard consideration for this child’s wellbeing, physically, mentally, or otherwise, and it speaks volumes.
And while I do not believe this is the last of us hearing about this situation, it impels me to ask right now, again, where does it end? We see our men and our women shouldering the burden of change in this country, but when the system shows deliberate disregard for our children, the question is no longer where does it end, but what do we do about it? As this country continues to move forward in change, we need to be reminded the strength of Black lives and the strength for change is within Black people.