Today’s full acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse has sent waves of shock and anger throughout our larger community. “I have been feeling sick all day since I heard it,” was a response from more than one person to whom I spoke and I understood as my response was also visceral and in the body. For all who have experienced marginalization—and on this weekend when we mark Transgender Day of Remembrance—marking a year with a tragic level of deaths due only to hate—this does feel a bit like a body blow.
While it is good that the law which allowed this action has been removed from the books in one state because of these events, the costs to those killed or injured by the A-R rifle in Kenosha cannot be measured. We are reminded that even in uncertain times, we must remain diligent. Over the days to come, people will respond in many ways. Some will give to the organizations such as Black Lives Matter or the Equal Justice Initiative of Bryan Stevenson; others will ask for legislation that overrides the rights of vigilante justice, and others will take to the streets. Would that the understanding and leniency given to an angry teen also be extended to those who understand that this acquittal feels like yet another dehumanization, another blow to the idea that black lives matter in this nation.
Perhaps we can turn our anger towards wearing masks and curtailed activities towards these larger forces. For those for whom taking a jog can become a death sentence sanctioned by a court in 2021 need all of our support and we all long for a better world than this.