On November 22, 2014, Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old Black boy was fatally shot by the police in Cleveland, Ohio, for playing with a toy gun. Shooter Timothy Loehmann was fired earlier this year, but it was because he lied on his job application—not because he killed a child.
Three years later, the Rice family will have an empty spot at the Thanksgiving table, just like the Martins, Browns, Blands, and every other household that has suffered a loss at the hands of state sanctioned death of Black people. For each one of these families, there will be dozens who will argue back and forth over their turkey about whether or not these victims “deserved” their deaths.
The holidays can be a tough time when folks are forced to look around the table and bear witness to all the ways in which America has us fucked up. As the nation comes up on a year with the Trump administration imposing violent and seemingly otherworldly policies on already severely broken populations, this annual strain of political conversation is that much more heartbreaking and painful.
Families everywhere are dealing with the ways they have been disenfranchised by the administration. There’s the cousin who was sent away for a much longer sentence than was warranted. The older brother who can’t keep a job because of his record. The aunt and uncle who are at risk of being deported due to the repeal of Temporary Protection Status.
Three years after the cold and senseless murder of a 12-year-old boy, the nation continues to exploit, corrupt, and profit off the backs of marginalized communities. Families will sit at their Thanksgiving dinners knowing that same violence against natives perpetuated that day hundreds of years ago has been magnified for hundreds of years, leading to this very point in our nation’s history.