Today, Brown Girls Out Loud is kicking off our Milk and Motherhood series. In the coming days and weeks, we will celebrate life and love but before we do, we will honor Korryn Gaines and acknowledge the mother she was not permitted to be. In her death, let’s remember that her life was revolutionary and as we move through this month, never forget the revolutionary mothers who came before us.
A year ago today, word spread like wildfire on the news and social media that there was a standoff between police and a young woman in Randallstown, MD. There are many details of this story and how Korryn came to be dead on her living room floor, lying beside her 5 year old son, Kodi, who was shot by police in their attempt to capture her for outstanding warrants.
Korryn had been harassed at least since March of 2016 by local police. In the video below, she has been pulled over for having fake tags on her car and after some time going back and forth with the police officer, she is forcibly removed from the car as her 1 year old daughter, Karsyn, is ripped from her breast. Korryn is thrown to the ground, her children watching the entire exchange.
This video shows her returning to the police precinct to retrieve all of the paperwork she needs to appear in court in response to charges from the incident above. You can see clearly that she is being given the run around, with several people saying that they are unable to help her and at least one refusing to see her to hear her request for paperwork.
This may very well be the reason she didn’t show in court. This may very have been the last straw for her, mentioning here that she suffered a miscarriage due to the treatment she endured while in police custody.
There are folks who will say that none of this matters; that her death is her own fault, that she should have complied. I argue that none of the people saying these things understand Korryn’s experience existing as a young Black woman raising two small children, knowing her rights and leaving a paper trail of truth.
Korryn documented her interactions with police via Facebook Live. This evidence is so strong and apparently in her favor, displaying the brutality and maltreatment, that the Baltimore County Police Department contacted Facebook to disable features on Korryn’s Facebook account. These officers too, who camped out outside her apartment for hours, conveniently did not have their body cams on when she was murdered.
None of this mattered anyway, when a barrage of bullets took her life, physically injuring and emotionally damaging her son. No one will be held responsible for her murder. A year later, I find myself wondering how Kodi and Karsyn are faring. If they are with their fathers or other family members. How Karsyn dealt with being weaned from her mother. I wonder if she remembers her at all. I wonder if Kodi has nightmares about what happened.
Despite her beautiful make up in most photos, you can see just how truly young she was. You can see a zest for life in her eyes and in her smile. Her children look happy and loved. Korryn was so fierce and determined to have her humanity respected, to fight for her freedom, and to instill in her children that they too deserved their freedom and that it was worth holding on to at all costs.
I thank her for inspiring them, for inspiring me, for inspiring some of the strongest women I know to keep pushing for justice and liberation.
Thank you, Korryn.