All Voices Matter: it’s not enough


Prachurjya Shreya

In her weekly column, All Voices Matter, staff reporter Aviance Pritchett gives her take on social and cultural issues.

Aviance Pritchett, Staff Reporter

Amber Guyger was found guilty on Tuesday and sentenced to ten years in prison for murdering Botham Jean, a black man in his own home, which she had claimed she had mistaken for her own. According to the Dallas Morning News, she is the first police officer in Dallas to have been convicted for murder since the 1970s. 

It is certainly something noteworthy, considering how convicting police officers for murdering black people is something that rarely happens in this country. In the cases where cops are actually punished for their crime, it brings relief and closure to the victim’s family and justice is properly served, and many black people feel as though we’re being heard, and that our lives truly do matter to someone.

But that doesn’t mean it’s enough. 

That doesn’t mean that black people have to be satisfied with just any sentencing. 

Guyger, a white woman, gets 10 years for taking an innocent life, while black people are sentenced to life for lesser crimes or even crimes they had never committed. 

Research by Michigan State University states that innocent black people are more likely to be wrongly convicted, the NAACP states that black people are incarcerated more than five times the rate of white people, and the Pew Research Center shows that even though the gap between them is shrinking, there are still more incarcerated black people than there are incarcerated white people

Though I’m glad that she got some form of punishment, I really do not feel the need to jump for joy. It’s only for ten years. She’ll soon be released, whether it be by her fulfilling her sentence or granted an early release, and she’ll be able to live her life peacefully–something that her victim wasn’t able to do. 

Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, and many, many more never received justice. Their families never received closure. 

To say, “Well, at least it’s something!” is insensitive, no matter how good-natured it may be. Black people are not obligated to settle for a simple sentence such as ten years. We should not be shamed by others when we ask for a longer sentence, nor should we be chastised when we are not satisfied. 

Ten years in prison for murder is not, and will never be, enough.