Updated: Jun 22, 2020
Allow me to reflect on four specific dates that I think is pertinent to me writing this op-ed. What makes a conscious mind weep? March 23, 2019, October 27, 2019, June 15, 2020, and June 16, 2020.
June 16, 2020
Around 6:30 AM, I woke up in my hotel bed at the Holiday Inn in Buffalo, NY. Exhausted but determined, I remembered an excerpt from a poem that I wrote a few months ago, which I find myself glancing at occasionally.
"What is afforded to me, a tired body? With the knowledge of my ancestor's will. I feel like it is an insult to their memory if I announce tiredness as my weak point, never allowing this wound to heal. "
Then, I cried!
March 23, 2019
On March 23, 2019, I sent a Facebook message to Cariol Horne with the following.
"Hey Cariol, My name is Terry Watson, and I am the founder/owner of BWMP LLC. I host a web show called Moses's People Speak and would love you to be a guest. Would you be interested? In addition, I am putting together a speaking panel about law enforcement of color who speak out. If you are interested, I would love to add you."
This was my first message to Ms. Cariol Horne. I read her story and followed her on Facebook for a couple of weeks (this is typical of me when I am looking for speakers). Her story was so empowering, and I thought it needed to be shared. So I was so happy when she responded, "Sure, when?" Over the months to come, we communicated via email, phone, etc., planning her first speaking engagement. We scheduled Moses's People Speak for 2020, which would give us time to prepare. Finally, a date was set, and the marketing of Black Lives inside of Blue Lives began.
October 27, 2019
The day before the panel discussion where she was going to share the stage with Corey Pegues and Damon Jones, I wanted to make sure we had dinner together and talk about the logistics of the next day. But before her plane landed, she sent me a message that speaks to the humbleness of Ms. Horne.
"What made you choose me to be on your panel?"
I remember reading this text and thinking to myself, where do I start. I responded,
"Cariol, your story needs to be out there. I spent a great deal of time looking for police officers who stood up to injustice. And when I came across your story, I thought that people need to know."
That night as we all ate dinner, I was seated next to Ms. Horne. I spoke with her about why she did what she did and, more importantly, why other police officers fail to do the same. Inspired by her story, I still was unable to pick up on a crucial piece about her story. We talked about what tomorrow will look like as I handed each speaker their agendas and the community questions that were submitted online.
For Ms. Horne, her day consisted of Speaking to WPSU, meeting with the police chiefs in the county, take some pictures of course, then addressing the students, faculty, and staff at Penn State University (see pics below).
But through all of that, we still missed a crucial piece to Cariol's story.
June 15, 2020
(What made me cry)
After driving to Buffalo, NY, set to assist with Ms. Horne's interviews with CBS, CNN, The Breakfast Club, Associated Press, and much more that I can't disclose right now, I thought about that text she sent me months ago. I thought to myself, now, the world will hear your story and see what happens when a good cop crosses the thin blue line. I thought about the reception she received when she was on the panel and the love the audience showed her, and I knew America would show the same respect.
However, it wasn't until this interview with Jerika Duncan from CBS when Cariol broke down in tears. I realized something that most people (and I am amongst them) failed to understand,
..she has been fighting this battle nearly my whole life.
Thirty-two years to be exact.
This is why I cried. We become so focus on the now that we forget what brings us to our current being. I continuously talk about generational trauma, but this was a new version of generational trauma. Trauma sustaining from knowing you did the right thing, or as Ms. Horne would put it, following "good home training," to getting fired, then ridiculed by the same police department. We saw a woman cross the thin blue line to save a man's life. Still, our nation did not understand how this impacted her livelihood and the livelihood of her children and grandchildren, how this affected her physical and mental wellbeing. We didn't see the struggle of this queen saying, "listen to me, believe me," just to have the police department refer to her as a 'traitor' and chant to her "fired, fired, no pension-no peace." Our nation failed to understand when the community stood next to Ms. Horne; they themselves became a target by the same police department which fired her. What made me drive to Buffalo was the simple words from Ms. Horne, "This is bigger than me, if my story can save a life, then I have to tell it."
This is why I am calling a National Rally for #Cariol'sLaw
When the cameras disappear, we must not lose momentum. This is why we are organizing a National Rally for Cariol's Law At the bottom of the site, click on Join the Movement. Our outcry will not just be to protect whistleblowers who report police wrongdoing but to protect police officers from retaliation when they interrupt police brutality. If you can get behind these six points, then join the movement. We will schedule our first planning meeting on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, at 7:30 PM EST. I will send out the link to everyone that joined the movement. Even if you can't make it to this meeting but want to be a part of it, join the movement.
Six Items of Cariol's Law
Duty to intervene when officers pose an imminent threat to citizens
Accountability for Officers Neglecting to Intervene
Protection for Officers who intervene
Accountability for falsifying reports
Impacts policy regarding termination and department funding
Restorative justice for retaliation of whistleblowers