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Carlisha Hood

by Verde Arzu

“And since we all came from a woman/got our name from a woman and our game from a woman/I wonder why we take from our women/why we rape our women, do we hate our women?” -2 Pac

Keep Ya Head Up

Take from Our Womxn

On a warm summer’s evening, Carlisha Hood, a thirty-five year old Black mother walked into a restaurant on the Southside of Chicago. Separately, thirty-two year old Jeremy Brown did the same. While in line, the two engaged in a verbal disagreement. Meanwhile, Carlisha’s fourteen-year-old son waited in the care for his mom to return with food. Instead, Mr. Brown was inside brutally and viciously attacking Ms. Hood.

In the video released by several news outlets, Jeremy Brown can be seen standing next to Ms. Hood at the ordering window of the restaurant, balling up his first, yelling at Ms. Hood, demanding she stop talking. Also seen in the video are other people standing around watching the situation unfold. One additional person is responsible for recording the incident. Ms. Hood is seen responding to Mr. Brown. He then yells out, “say one more word and I’m going to knock you out.” Ms. Hood continues to talk. Mr. Brown then begins to punch Ms. Hood in the head several times. A middle-aged Black man can be seen in the video turning around and fleeing the restaurant once Ms. Hood is physically attacked by Mr. Brown.

Ms. Hood’s teenage son walks into the restaurant and witnesses his mother being viciously beaten by Mr. Brown like a lion who has found his prey in the wild. Frantic, the fourteen-year-old boy pulls his mother’s gun from his sweatshirt pocket, pulls the trigger, and saves his mother’s life.

I Wonder Why

Ms. Brown and her son were both immediately arrested and charged with first degree murder. Immediately. It did not take days, weeks, or months for this arrest to take place. The response to arrest and charge this brutally beaten womxn and her heroic son by Chicago police officers was immediate.

However, Ajike Owens was shot and killed through the door by her neighbor. It took four days before the white womxn who murdered her was arrested.

Ralph Yarl was shot in the head by a white man because he accidentally knocked on the wrong door. It took a national outcry before the 84-year-old white man was arrested.

We certainly can’t forget about Ahmaud Aubrey who was taking a jog in his neighborhood and was hunted down and murdered in cold blood. The three murderers weren’t arrested for two months! Even still, it took a national outcry, worldwide outrage, and protests to bring those murderers to justice.

There are countless others.

Meanwhile, Carlisha Hood, after being savagely attacked, being saved only by her teenage son, who had no other choice but to defend her, was arrested and charged within hours.

This. Is. America.

Do We Hate Our Womxn?

I first learned about this incident from Tamika D. Mallory, a social justice activist, who spoke out about this senseless violence against Ms. Hood on her Instagram page. Mallory expressed frustration and heartbreak over what transpired on the evening of June 18th in Chicago. She questioned the actions of those who stood around and watched Mr. Brown first verbally threatened, then viciously beat Hood–punching her in the face several times with his closed fist. No one stepped in to say a word! No one stepped in to try to escort Mr. Brown out of the restaurant to calm him down. No one said, “hey, brother, why don’t you step outside for a second?” No one said, “hey, sister, come on and go with me. I’ll bring your food to you.” Everyone just stood around and watched. Someone stood there and recorded it. Another Black man turned around and ran out.

I understand that we, as a society, live in a time where we have to be very careful of when and how we step into situations that have nothing to do with us, right? I ask, however, when did we become the Black community whose Black men stand and watch another Black man beat a Black womxn down? Do we no longer have unwritten agreements and standards on how we protect each other? Are our communities so fractured and shattered that we have no moral compass or standards? Further, I ask, what is happening to the code in the Black community? Codes like, “respect your elders. Get up and let your elders sit down when you’re on public transportation, hold the door for someone behind you, especially if their hands are full. Be kind.” Is being kind not a thing anymore? Do unwritten codes not exist in Black communities anymore? Are we in the year of two thousand and twenty-three where we stand aside silently and watch a Black womxn get brutally beaten by a Black man, record it, or worse, turn and run away? Only to argue that she should be arrested and charged with child endangerment because the only person willing to save her life was her 14-year-old son. God help us all. The impact of slavery and White supremacy knows no end.

Since We All Came From a Womxn

What is our responsibility in moments like these? Are we not each other’s keepers? Are we all individuals and the concept of community and village dead? Are the Christian beliefs of this nation, that many of us hold dear, not actionable? Beliefs like, “love your neighbor.” Far too often Black womxn’s sense of love and protection are taken without regard, without protest, without outrage, without consequences. What we cannot do is continue to accept the disrespect and hate of Black womxn as normal. I’m not asking for a friend. I am asking as a Black womxn: where do we go from here?


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Black Lives Have Always Mattered and So Has Your Silence

“People have got to get together and work together. I’m tired of the kind of oppression that White people have inflicted on us and are still trying to inflict.” -Fannie Lou Hamer

Black Lives Matter is a trending topic right now but this isn’t a trend for us. We can’t just move on to the next trend once the momentum has shifted. We have to live in these Black bodies without reprieve. And don’t get me wrong, we love being in these Black bodies! We know who we are; regardless of what the world tries to tell us, all while stealing, looting, & appropriating everything that embodies blackness…from our lips to our colloquialisms. 

But you—you’ve been silent about our fight to exist. You’ve had the luxury to just stand there and watch…and perhaps feel bad about it. You’ve found justification in questions like, “but why did he run?” You have feigned ignorance long enough. 

We are still going to need you (hell, we’ve always needed you). Who doesn’t need an ally—a co-conspirator in times of war? Yes, this is war for us…a constant battle, make no mistake about it. Every day is a fight to exist when you’re Black in America. Can you imagine waking up everyday and along with everything else you have to do, you also have to validate and affirm your very existence? In the boardroom, behind the desk, on the bus stop, at the corner store where we spend money daily, walking down the street, in the classroom, getting some air with your family at the park, jogging, hustling, sitting, standing, driving, talking, breathing… 

We never get a break from this reality. We don’t get to change the hashtags. So, when the next news topic comes roaring in, now, like us, you can’t just move on.

You will never be able to be silent about White privilege and/or racism ever again. That is one of the social shifts that is so pivotal in this moment. You are finally being held accountable for your silent compliance. You can’t run from the call—you can’t ignore what you have always known to be a violation of our basic human rights and then say you are not a racist—not anymore. We will not allow it. We’ve had enough of your silence while you invite us over to have dinner at your table. You are either doing anti-racist work or you are a racist.

Our lives matter whether we are marching or trending. So, find the book recommendation lists, get to reading. Listen to your Black friends, colleagues, associates, and those who are impacted by systemic racism everyday. Learn about anti-racist work and how to be an anti-racist warrior everyday,  because the fight for justice didn’t just begin in 2020, and it is far from over. And your silence is no longer acceptable.

-Verde Arzu