Nicol Ragland
3 min readJun 10, 2020

8 Minutes 46 Seconds

Photo: Christine Nguyen

What haunts me most is Derek Chauvin’s hand in his pocket. A gesture of ease, comfort of possibly playing with spare change during a time of choking a man to death.

What is that place of creative cruelty that shrouds a man’s moral judgment while killing another as we watched him plea for his mother?

People aren’t born of this level of violence, it is learned. We absorb stories on a daily basis. Ones that include implicit bias that cross pollinate with inherent racism. We don’t distinguish between the two and the result creates a woman with a cocker spaniel deciding to call the police on a black man with the supposed freedom to witness the birds he came to learn from.

‘The birds don’t care what color you are.’ — Christian Cooper

I vacillate between outrage and paralyzation.What are the cultural conditions that lead white men to brutalize black men? To, literally, hang them in the year of 2020.

What a complicated and historical question we all, as Americans, have got to take ownership of as well as confront.

One of the more insightful thoughts came through recently :

‘Speak out, we must. But, before we do, find the silence that Derek Chauvin could not, for that is God’s only voice. Let our words articulate a clarity and moral authority that reflects this quietness, as if our prayer cushion lay across the bare floor of a Birmingham jail. ‘

More questions from my place of privilege:

What does accountability in police departments to stop these savage slayings look like?

What is my place in this wickedness?

How does one examine implicit biases in order to change them?

How do we dig into this moral inventory of ours in order to address this societal change?

We are active participants in this thing called humanity. It is not something happening to us. Bringing these assailants to justice isn’t enough.

ACTIONS I’ve learned ~

~ Google whether your local police department currently outfits all on-duty police officers with a body-worn camera and requires that the body-worn camera be turned on immediately when officers respond to a police call. If they don’t, write to your city or town government representative and police chief to advocate for it.

~ Google whether your city or town currently employs evidence-based police de-escalation trainings. The racial make-up of your town doesn’t matter — This needs to be standard everywhere. Write to your city or town government representative and police chief and advocate for it.

~ Work on ensuring that black educators are hired where black children are being taught.

~ Follow and learn from your local Black Lives Matter Chapter, Color Of Change , NAACP , Showing Up For Racial Justice, Reclaim The Block, Ethels Club and United We Dream

~ Support black businesses. Find them on WeBuyBlack, The Black Wallet, and Official Black Wall Street.

~ Host a screening with your friends of either ’13th’ or the four part series ‘When they see us’. Both by Ava Duvernea. Thank god for her.

Dr. King reminded me, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Keep rising ya’ll. This is an ancient wound that’s gonna take all of us to heal.

Nicol Ragland

Photographer . Director | Narrative-enhancing photography and film with an emphasis on cause-driven storytelling. |