• Ebony Williams

The Hug of Controversy

When Dallas Judge Tammy Kemp threw down her gavel, giving former police officer Amber Guyer 10 years for the murder of Botham Jeans the victim’s family was lightly pleased with the sentencing. What took most of us by surprise was that she was actually found guilty, given the high intensity of this case involving a white female officer and an unarmed black man. But to our surprise the amount of love given by the victim’s brother, who chose to give Guyer a hug is the hottest topic of the week.

The showing of forgiveness in a simple hug as the viral video and picture swarms my social media feeds is a bit overwhelming. At first glance I was taken back, asking: myself why would he do that? Then, I had to remember one thing, HE did that, not ME, not US, not WE as a society, but HE pulled this magnificent strength out of whatever energy he possessed and decided to direct it towards love and not hate. In all honesty, it was very admirable.

Then, the judge gave her a hug and one of the police officers was seen fixing Guyer's hair. Those two gestures left me feeling... very irritable...irate... and a little upset. I was placed back into this emotional tornado of what in the hell is going on! In my mind, it's perfectly fine for the victim’s brother to display this type of humanity that left me impervious. However, for an appointed judge to do this? I was left with no words; it was absolutely unforgivable.

Reading the comments on what people thought about all the hugs that Guyer received and how she was treated with kindness during this entire process was baffling. There's so much hate in most of us. So much HURT in our community. Here's why it hurt me to see the judge who is black and the female court officer who is black do those things. We are such a forgiving people when it comes to other races, but for some reason, most of the time, we can't forgive our OWN brothers and sisters.

I wonder where we would be if the racial worlds were switched. I wonder where we would be if that HUG was never given. If the sentence was longer. If the judge acted in a way of disgust or if that courtroom officer kept her hands to herself. I suppose, we would feel justice? Maybe we would feel an eye for an eye? Maybe we would feel like we finally had one of our voices heard in a plethora of cases where a black person is minding their business and is senselessly murdered.

But no, that's not how this cookie crumbled.

Instead, it shattered in a different way. I'm a firm believer that things happen for a reason no matter how fucked up it is. God uses every situation for the betterment of us, even when we can't see it and don't understand it. In this case, as I sat on this picture, the video, the verdict, the evidence, the articles etc. As I sat with a lap full of documents I was left with this impression after THE HUG OF CONTROVERSY hit the web. Many people expressed their emotions saying "I would NEVER do that!" or "FUCK HER" or "You won't catch me hugging a murder!" or one that hit a cord "That's that slave shit right there..."

That's the thing about God, he knows who to give the battles to. He knows who the strongest of his warriors are to handle certain situations. He knew that you or anyone else who had harsh things to say about this case or that hug, was not the person to handle this unfortunate circumstance. HE knows what the hug will mean and what it will do in days, weeks, months, years and decades to come; that is why he didn't choose you but instead used Jeans' brother.

That hug was way bigger than what our thoughts could ever imagine.

That hug held power. By hugging her, he's set free from whatever hatred might have filled his heart. By hugging her, he has the ability to change a persons’ mind. Whether that person be in the same city, state, country or even across the world to someone who doesn't speak our language. No matter what, a few things are universal, love and forgiveness. That hug translates to all of us differently. That hug has us talking, having discussions about bigger issues. That hug is doing EXACTLY WHAT IT WAS INTENDED TO DO.

You see, it's bigger than us. It confused us. It's making us want to know why. It's making us want to reach out and try to find a deeper understanding of what in the fuck what he thinking? That hug, will open doors deeper into your heart and brain. That hug has someone thinking... Well, if HE could hug his brothers’ murderer, why can't I forgive my former friend? My family member? My boss?

When my best friend was murdered at 12 years-old HER mother was the one who taught me about love, forgiveness and what God would want. I remember her saying at Delaney's grave "It's hard, but I forgive him. It's what God would want, and I want to be free." Someone took her daughter, my best friend (only friend), my sister, and this woman, is standing in front of me telling me that she forgives? Who am I to judge? That hug is a symbol of many things and it's depicted in different lights depending on who you are and what you're going through.

What happened to 25 to life?

She was hit with 5 to 99 years

She'll most likely be out in 5 years despite getting 10 years.

Lastly, I'm not sure if you know much about prison but... certain people in the system (male and female) don't take kindly to officers who end up in prison, especially those who killed an innocent man. To prisoners that innocent man could represent a brother, father, nephew, uncle, best friend, husband or someone else who was innocently taken by law enforcement. So for those who might think she got off with a 10-year sentence, whether she serves 5 or 10 years, those years won't be easy.