As we were presented with the verdict of Derek Chauvan, the former police officer found guilty of murdering George Floyd, we were forced to reckon with the killing of another Black person at the hands of police. Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old girl, was shot on April 20th after reaching out to police for help. Her funeral is being held today at The First Church of God in Ohio.
“My baby was an innocent, talented, bubbly, loving teenager,” the girl’s mother, Paula Bryant, told CNN this week. Ma’Khia enjoyed cooking, making TikTok’s, making people laugh and was on the honor roll at her high school.
This week, ESSENCE GU held an Emergency Town Hall via Instagram Live with GU interim editor D’Shonda Brown, Refinery29’s social strategist Venesa J. Coger and activist Chelsea Miller. Together, they mourned Ma’Khia, while also discussing healing from the trauma of state violence and how Gen Z can cope during this time.
“I’m…feeling exhausted,” Miller, the co-founder of Freedom March NYC, said. “I’m also trying to mentally process all of this.”
Coger then spoke on how she has to unplug from social media to handle such devastating loss, while also getting her work done as a social strategist. “I’ve turned off notifications from my social media apps,” Coger shared. “I only go on [apps] when I need to for work…As far as consuming for my own personal time, I had to stop doing that because it was really affecting me badly.” She says she “shut down” after hearing the news of Ma’Khia’s death.
Paula Bryant wants her daughter to be remembered as a light and not for the incident that ended her life. “She was a loving teenager with a big heart, and she loved her family very much,” Ma’Khia’s obituary reads. She will be missed and the fight for justice will continue.