The televised trial of Derek Chauvin is yet another mental anguish for the Black men in this country. The videos played during the court proceedings included George Floyd’s last minutes of his life as he struggled under Chauvin’s knee. Every Black American that gathered the courage to watch this trial felt the traumatizing fear and horror of being killed by the men who are sworn to protect us. How do you not sob and hold back tears as you watch witnesses testify about their experiences watching Floyd cry for his breath?

Abdi Nor Iftin is a Somali-American writer, radio journalist and public speaker. He lives in Yarmouth.

Footage played during the trial shows Floyd inside a local store before he was murdered. With this in mind, Black Americans who watched these videos will never walk into stores feeling safe ever again. It is a daily reminder of the violence and brutality every Black man and woman in this country can expect to encounter at the hands of law enforcement: Floyd’s murder was captured on film and witnesses testified – yet the officer’s guilt is still up for debate.

The trial reminds many Black Americans of the 1991 Rodney King episode. Four police officers were filmed beating King within an inch of his life. Yet the officers were acquitted. What does justice even mean when history shows police officers can get away with such murder?

Remember Trayvon Martin? Justice was denied to the 17-year-old Martin when, after three weeks of testimony, George Zimmerman, his killer, was acquitted. Then there was Eric Garner, who also died at the hands of the police. His killer, Officer Daniel Pantaleo, only lost his job. He is walking around freely today.

In several Black deaths, justice was never done; officers accountable for the deaths were not held accountable. This is why the  Chauvin trial is critical to the ways Black Americans will see justice in a country they call home.

It is hard to avoid seeing the footage presented at the trial; it leaves trails of trauma in Black communities. You can see this in the everyday lives of Black people.

In our state of Maine, there is a growing sense of fear. When Black men travel from Portland to Lewiston or Boston, they have to inform their families about their whereabouts, and they check on each other quite often to make sure everything is OK and that they are not dead. Even sometimes a phone call from the family member who is traveling can bring back trauma to the family member answering the calls.

As the weather warms, the question is, will Black people again enjoy a safe summer outdoors? The usual activities, such as biking, running and even shopping at the grocery, may never feel the same for any Black person who is following the trial of Derek Chauvin.

To the Black immigrants, including myself, this does not look like the America that presented itself as a safe place to escape from persecution and death from our countries of origin. The main reason the Maine Blacks emigrated from their countries was safety for themselves and their families. Now, the question is: If the killings of Black people continue, where else do we go to feel safe and thrive as a community?

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