I lay on this bed thinking of my sister who passed away. I’m thinking of a photo my little cousin has of her when she was a little girl. It’s an adorable polaroid of my sister when she was two years old grinning so brightly in a kiddie pool with a puff on top of her head. She’s happy, and I love her joy.
I wondered how my cousin had it and I asked my mother, sparking an unforeseen and unfortunate disagreement. I’d wanted a copy of the photo and believed the original belonged to my mother. I wanted to make her a copy as well. So, we disagreed on who loved her more. Silly, right?
As I thought of the words that should’ve been left unsaid, my heart began to ache for my mother. I reflected upon why the photo is so important to me, and it's because it's one of my mother’s favorite pictures. I flashbacked to the times my mom and I looked through old photos of T’nai when she was young. She seems to prefer those times when it was just the two of them. For a moment she is there and I am with her too, and she’s herself again. The mommy I missed. The mommy whose warm embrace slowly turned colder each year her child has been absent from this world.
Suddenly, I begin weeping for Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, the young emergency medical worker murdered in her sleep by the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD). I weep for her sister, Ju’Niyah Palmer, and the devastation she is facing as she learns to cope with life without her sister. A family now forced to live with the pain of their beloved being murdered unjustly by the LMPD while attempting to adjust to their new normal of life without her.
The reading of the verdict on September 23, 2020 — no charges for two of the three officers involved. However, they chose to charge former detective Brett Hankinson with wanton endangerment, stating clearly that Breonna’s neighbors hold more value. The sorrow Ms. Palmer is feeling is unimaginable. I can empathize as a daughter whose mother lost her eldest, but I can’t imagine my mother’s grief being plastered all over the media. Regardless of the notoriety of Breonna Taylor’s case, a mother still lost her child. A mother has been thrusted into the spotlight because law enforcement couldn’t bother to double-check their now-banned “no-knock” warrants, addresses and alleged assailants.
The Louisville Judicial Courts are backing their racist and unjust ruling by implementing a plan to employ the military and enforce curfew ahead of the verdict to deter protestors. The truth is clear: the businesses, properties and maintaining a system designed to disregard Breonna and all the other nameless souls who were unjustly murdered by the LMPD is most important to them. It’s a continuous realization that they’d rather monetize off our pain than to be fair and just. As if receiving 12 million dollars could erase or replace Breonna.
While we demand justice, we begin to see our vain attempt to heal our trauma. Another Black sister added to the list of names we’ll never forget. They plaster Breonna Taylor’s image across media outlets and sell our terror for clicks and likes, forgetting that a mother lost her child, dismissing her now that the verdict is in. So, when tomorrow comes and the celebrities no longer post or wear her image, I hope you think of her mother, Ms. Palmer. I hope you light a candle and say a prayer for her. I pray you send her positive affirmations of light and love. I pray you never forget her name, that you say her name. I pray you try to understand that a mother lost her daughter — not a headline, a t-shirt or a magazine cover.