Empathy and Grace for the Rioters and Looters

By Ke’Ana Lampkins

2020 has been an incredibly unpredictable year. From  Covid-19, quarantine, Kobe and Gia, the countless murders, and now the looting and rioting, 2021 couldn’t come fast enough.

The problem is for many 2020 has been a year of escalation. An escalation of issues that were already prevalent. Even with the quarantine, Lori Lightfoot, Chicago’s Mayor, has countless commercials about how easy it is to stay home. And I agree with her, until my dad and husband pointed out, how difficult it would be to stay home if you live in a one-bedroom apartment with 5 people. Or how challenging it would be to stay home when you are abused by the people you live with.

African- American’s have the highest death rate so far in the United States from Covid-19 (https://www.apmresearchlab.org/covid/deaths-by-race). Regardless of the accuracy of how these numbers are being brought in, it’s important to discuss the real realities African American’s are facing in discrimination, restricted access, and health disparities in the medical system. There have been countless stories of people being turned away for Covid-19 testing, who later died from it.

In, addition to the discrimination we already face from the health system, we also have higher numbers of us who are essential workers who have to work. While many have been furloughed and laid off during this time, just as many have had to work on the front lines in medical spaces, grocery stores, food companies, schools, and more.

If Covid-19 didn’t already have us feeling antsy, here comes the killings. You have people who at this point literally have nothing to lose. They have lost their jobs, family members, and now, the hope of living in a peaceful world. It takes a toll mentally and while even I come from a place of privilege, where I have savings, a home, and a false sense of safety and security, this is still hard, and others don’t even have that.

So when we see the rioting and looting taking place, while some may not agree with it. We understand it. Black bodies, male and female, are being murdered, and no one but us seems to care. We are angry, we are hurt, and we are losing hope. While I am not in their shoes, I can imagine they feel they’re taking something from people who have taken from them. They were not looting from black-owned businesses. They were taking from white business owners and others who have claimed camp in their communities.

It’s easy to sit from the comfort of our homes and judge those who are looting and rioting. But until you have really felt what we felt, and have seen the full picture of restricted access and discrimination you have no idea what we are going through.

Ke’Ana Lampkins is a contributing writer for The Pedestal Project, LLC. Ke’Ana is a Christian, wife, and mother dedicated to empowering young girls and women through counseling, mentorship, and education. Connect with her on Instagram @Beautifully_Yanni.

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