I was sitting in the living room watching the news when I heard about what had happened to Korryn Gaines. At the time, I didn’t know all of the details, [much like everyone else], and made quick assumptions. I assumed that the individual having the standoff with police was a white man who they would describe as “mentally disturbed”, “unhinged” or “suicidal”. I assumed this “white man” was a college student or something. I assumed that maybe the “white man” had just been divorced or broken up with or something. I thought that this “white man” was maybe even in severe debt, and knew no other way out. But then, I learned more.
This WASN’T a suicidal, mentally disturbed white man. This was a Black woman, a 23-year-old Black woman at that. And the police WASN’T there to stop her from killing herself, but was there TO kill her. I had learned that she was harassed constantly by Baltimore County Police officers in Randallstown, Maryland. I had learned that she had a pending case with the Baltimore County Police Department, and that she was suing them for an altercation pertaining to the rights and ownership of her vehicle. I had learned that there was already some “sabotage” and “fabricating” of evidence happening with some paperwork that she needed to have in order to defend herself in court. I also learned that she had a history with these same officers who harassed her non-stop.
I had learned that they had come to “issue a warrant for a court date that she had failed to appear to” [yea, okay], and Korryn Gaines felt that she had an obligation to protect her then 5-year-old son.
But, what I remember the MOST about hearing about Korryn Gaines’s death, was all of the Black men and women on my timeline who didn’t even stand up for her. I remember reading things like, “she deserved to die”.
“She just wanted to be a martyr for a movement.”
“She dragged her innocent 5-year-old son into something that had nothing to do with him.”
“She traumatized that boy.”
“If the officer says to do something, you do it.”
“She had a gun.”
“She was crazy.”
Which tells me that the theory of armed resistance and the actual practice of armed resistance are two different things in the eyes of SOME people. Armed resistance in pictures— pictures like the one with Malcolm X peeping out of his window sill with a rifle in his hand, or pictures like the ones with 30 members of the Black Panther Party who walked into the California State Capitol building in May of 1967 toting guns and rifles— come off as more “badass”, “Black Powerish” and “radical”, than that of a young Black woman who actually PRACTICED the theory of armed resistance and furthermore felt the need to defend herself from terrorists in badges who came to invade her home.
Regardless if you believe that armed resistance is the way to go or not, the fact remains that A LOT of the leaders that we idolize and look up to, partook in armed resistance in some form or fashion.
FACTS. NOT EVEN DEBATABLE.
But, that’s another post for another time. In this post, I would rather just remember Korryn Gaines, and to wish her family well in all of their pursuits. Korryn Gaines was a freedom fighter, a warrior, and a fearless Black mother. Let’s not forget this. Yes, she was a revolutionary. But, she was a mother FIRST. And with the huge task of being a mother or for shepherding a child, I can only imagine the great lengths that one can/will go in order to defend her flock. Korryn Gaines was willing to go to the very ends of the Earth to make sure that her child was safe.
I wonder how many mothers would go as far as to arm themselves, if it meant that they and their children would be safe from all forms of terror, even if it meant “law enforcement?”
Mumia Abu-Jamal said in his book, All Things Censored, “For the spirit of resistance, is in essence, the spirit of love.” I firmly believe that Korryn Gaines resisted and petitioned the state at every turn each and everyday, because of the love that she had for her family.
Mumia Abu-Jamal also said in an interview back in March 1996, “Don’t cry for me, don’t mourn for me. Organize.” I feel that Korryn’s spirit is urging us to organize, organize, organize. That is what she would be doing had she not been murdered by the state. Let’s keep the spirit strong!
“I’ll live on forever, my nigga. Forever.” -Korryn Gaines
Her spirit lives on.