Emmett and Breonna

Warning: Wilo is not chipper in this post. She’s going to be harsh in a snarky way. You’ve been warned.

Look at this image. Take it in.

You are likely familiar with Breonna Taylor’s murder and the gross mishandling of justice that came out of Louisville yesterday. In case you missed it, no one is guilty of busting into her apartment in the middle of the night and shooting her a crap ton times, while looking for someone who wasn’t even there. But I believe “precious souls” are being punished for damaging drywall. That’s my super condensed version of events—I highly encourage you to research all the facts and understand it for yourself.

In the very strange way things sometimes go down in the world, Emmett Till’s murderers were acquitted on the same day (September 23) 65 years ago.

If there are some of you who aren’t familiar with Emmett Till’s story, I’m happy to bring you up to speed. Emmett Till was a 14-year-old boy from Chicago who went south to Mississippi one summer to visit relatives. The story went that while buying candy from a local corner store owned by white people, he flirted (in the way a devil-may-care, fun-loving boy thinks flirting is) with the store’s pretty young cashier. She tells her husband. He goes and tells his half-brother—both of whom are about as racist and brutal men as you will find—and one night, they abduct this child from his relative’s home, and was never seen alive again. Was he alone in the house that night? No. The house was filled with people, but for a rural, black Mississippi family in 1955, angry white men could bust into YOUR home in the dead of night and take whatever they wanted.

Emmett was horrifically beaten and brutalized, shot, and then had a 75-pound cotton gin fan tied to his body to make him sink in the murky river they threw him into. No one was supposed to ever find him that way.

Except days later his body was found.

They brought him to Chicago to his mother. He was unrecognizable. His mother Mamie, in a feat of absolute strength and bravery, insisted his funeral casket be open—and that everything be photographed so the world would see what those evil men did to her baby. The photos ran in Jet magazine, and yes, the world saw.

The men were arrested. There was a trial. A brave witness pointed them out in court—almost certainly guaranteeing his own death. And they walked.

Emmett Till’s death and this disgusting display of twisted and tampered, racist “law and justice” in these United States was the catalyst to the civil rights movement.

Years later, the pretty little shopkeeper who started a chain of events that led to the murder of an innocent child, suddenly had an epiphany. Apparently, telling lies about young black people to racists with murderous tendencies isn’t nice. And then she admits she made the entire thing up.

But Emmett Till is gone. And no one was brought to justice.

Breonna Taylor is gone. And no one was brought to justice.

What could they have become?

65 years apart. Two young people with so much promise. Same end result.

One thing has changed in 65 years. There are a lot more of us now—from every color and creed and gender who are sticking up for black lives, demanding this country internalize to the very core of its soul that the lives of black people absolutely matter. Yesterday, today, tomorrow, forever.

Regardless of the outcome of this election, keep marching. Keep posting. Keep agitating. Keep the heat on. We’re not anywhere near done yet.

Leave a comment if you will. I’d love to discuss.

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