At The End Of The Day, We ALL Want Our Family To Come Home

Photo: courtesy of the author
At The End Of The Day, We All Want Our Family To Come Home

It's time we DO something so everyone comes home safe.

Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Philando Castile. Terence Crutcher.

These names belong to just a handful of the many black men who’ve been killed by police over the past couple of years.

Daniel Pantaleo. Darren Wilson. Jeronimo Yanez. Betty Shelby.

These names belong to the cops who’ve killed them.

Though these men and women sit on completely opposite sides of a couple different spectrums, they all have one incredibly important thing in common: family.

As a biracial woman and sister to two police officers, I’ve been conflicted as of late.

My heart breaks every time I hear news of another black citizen whose life was taken by those who swear to protect him. I think about the children, wives, mothers, fathers and friends who’ve lost a major piece of their lives — who expect their father, husband, son and friend to come home at night.

I watch videos posted by witnesses and wonder how anyone trained to protect and serve could be so quick to pull the trigger.

I learn that yet another officer is cleared of any wrongdoing and lose a little more faith in humanity.

But then I think of my brothers, who patrol a city that just recently held the title as the most dangerous in America. A city ravaged by gun violence, gang activity and drugs, where even the presence of an innocent 8-year-old girl doesn’t stop people from starting a shootout, killing her in the process.

I expect them to come home at night, too.

We often think of police as these drones who walk the streets devoid of emotion or empathy.

My brothers are 21 and 25. I’ve seen them laugh, cry and everything in between. I’ve seen how nervous they were their first day of the police academy and how proud they were four short months later at the academy graduation. Still the same 21- and 25-year-olds, only now with guns at their hips.

I think of them walking up to a vehicle at night, fearful of their lives because they never know who they're going to encounter in a crime-ridden city overrun by guns.

I think of them trying to detain a man who’s being uncooperative, thinking they see the glint of a knife or a 9 millimeter among the struggle.

I think that, if only one of those men is coming home tonight…

Then I remember that somewhere, another girl is waiting for her black brother to come home, too.

I'm ashamed that our country has become one where — chances are — they won't both make it home.

It doesn't have to be this way.