We need to talk about Diamond Reynolds. Diamond Reynolds is my hero, and she should be yours too. She is every black woman, and she spoke truth to power this past week, for the whole world to see.
If you don’t know who she is, I speak of the black woman in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, who livestreamed the aftermath of the shooting death of her boyfriend, Philando Castile. And she did it while in the car, with the police officer who just pumped four bullets into her man’s body pointing the same gun to her face, with her 4-year-old daughter sitting in the backseat the whole time.
What this woman endured is unbelievable. And the bravery that Diamond Reynolds displayed was praiseworthy. She managed to remain calm, cool and collected in the face of a nervous cop who could have killed her and her daughter the way that he killed Mr. Castile, a man who simply complied with authority, announced he had a weapon and was licensed to carry it, and was about to present his license and registration. Even-keeled and professional, Diamond Reynolds should have been the cop that day, because she saved two lives. I would challenge you to find a better police officer, or negotiator, or investigator than this woman, or anything she put her mind to.
“He let the officer know that he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm,” Reynolds said during the ordeal. “Please don’t tell me this, Lord. Please, Jesus, don’t tell me that he’s gone,” she said. “Please, officer, don’t tell me that you just did this to him. You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.”
Remarkable, yes. And yet, we know women like this, as we have known them throughout our history. Diamond Reynolds should remind us of the women who survived the trauma of the slave ship dungeons of the Middle Passage. Or Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery and returned as an abolitionist to take hundreds back with her on the Underground Railroad to freedom. And as if to outdo even herself, Tubman became an armed scout and a spy for the Union Army.
I’m thinking of Fannie Lou Hamer of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, who was “sick and tired of being sick and tired” and made a seat for herself at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. “Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off of the hooks because our lives be threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings, in America?” she asked. Barbara Jordan, who as president pro tempore of the Texas Senate became the first black woman to preside over a legislative body in America, and the first black Congresswoman from the Deep South. And let’s not forget Shirley Chisolm, the first black woman in Congress, the first African-American to run for president in a major party, and one of the founders of the Congressional Black Caucus.
-‘Black Girl Magic’ On Display At Colored Girls Museum In Philadelphia
There were the countless black women, strong women who kept the family together, who made something out of nothing. They were the backbone of the family, providing strength and protection to black men and believing in them when the brothers couldn’t muster the fortitude to believe in themselves.
Further, black women such as Diamond Reynolds are early adopters of new technology and communications tools, using social media such as Twitter to communicate and beat the drum in completely innovative ways. We have seen this with the sisters who founded the #BlackLivesMatter movement, creating a movement from a hashtag.
Since mainstream media will likely never give Diamond Reynolds her props, it is necessary we honor her. She comes from a long line of strong, brave and innovative black women, and we must be thankful for what these sisters have done for their community and their men. She’s further proof that #BlackGirlMagic exists even in tragic moments.
Follow David A. Love on Twitter at @davidalove