Justice for Rekia Boyd, Uplifting Black Women and Disobeying the State

By Rika Tyler, Hands Up United

On April 21st, 2015, Chicago Police Officer Dante Servin was acquitted of all charges brought against him for the murder of Rekia Boyd when Servin shot wildly into a crowd and killed her back in March 2012.

Judge Dennis Porter said that according to Illinois state law, in order prove that Servin was guilty of involuntary manslaughter, the prosecution would have to prove that Servin acted recklessly. Porter says Servin's actions were beyond reckless, they were intentional--meaning murder is the appropriate charge.

It’s a sad day because another injustice has been served to another family that will suffer. This is a prime example of the emasculation of Black people. Disgusting does not express the feeling of this system and the world we live in. What’s worse is America is not talking about it, which is inadvertently spreading the myth that only Black men live under threat of police terror. It’s also ridiculous how these murderous police officers feel so comfortable killing people without any remorse for terminating human life. How can we truly hold the system accountable when the State is sanctioning murder and rewarding the murderers?

Saint Louis native, artist and fellow Hands Up United member Tef Poe said, “Because she is a black woman, her story we never tell.” As a Black woman I get extremely frustrated because we get very little public outcry when we are the victim of a tragic event. Black women’s lives matter too. We are getting killed just as much, if not more, than Black men. I want to uplift our Black women the same as we uplift our Black men because in reality we are all targets. Do you remember the stories of Aiyana Jones, Tania Harris, Kimberlee-Randle King and Tanesha Anderson? You do not hear their names as often but do not let them die in vain. We must uplift our Black sisters who are also getting killed as well as our Black brothers.

It seems as if every 28 hours police departments have set an alarm clock for these officers to repeat murder across the nation. Everyday there’s an officer involved in a murder, another press statement released to justify to their shooting tactics, and another hashtag that the world will have to see. Officer Servin shot into the crowd recklessly because he did not value Black life, and with his charges being dismissed by the courts, it shows that America does not value Black life either. This is nothing new to us, because this is about 400+ years of this system desecrating, dehumanizing and brutalizing Black people. It is a disgrace that killing a dog can carry heavier penalties than murdering Black and Brown bodies.

How can we expect a good outcome from a system that was designed to destroy us? Bystander video recordings and dash cam footage of these killings rarely lead to indictments, and almost never result in convictions for the murderous cops. There is still no justice, so there can be no peace. We have to continue to uplift our Black and Brown brothers and sisters with marches, protests, boycotts, direct actions and civil disobedience because it is getting attention throughout the world. We need to synthesize our narratives to show the systemic patterns of State violence, conduct our own investigations and continue to push to obtain the power to control how our communities are policed.

We also need to win the hearts and minds of our people because until we indict and convict the system, we have to love our people and provide resources for each other in a self-determined spirit. Love is the way.

Imagine if you turned the news on or got a phone call that your relative was killed at the hands of the State. How would you feel? Would you care more? As a Black woman I have to wake up every day traumatized by the continuous killings of our Black men and women. I am fearless but I do often wonder what if it were me? My brother? My friend? If you truly are an advocate for Black Lives Matter it has to be for all Black people; men and women. Our fallen soldiers did not die in vain.

We have to put pressure on our local politicians, continue to get familiar with our neighbors and continue to educate each other about how this system is working to destroy our lives. Rekia Boyd’s death resulted in a great amount of civil liability but there was still no criminal charges brought against the murderer. Like so many other cases this will continue to happen if we do not truly wake up and unite. We are one.