Kyle Rittenhouse: The acquittal

Djasahn English, Managing Editor of Social Justice

On November 20th, after over a year-long process, Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on all charges from his killing spree at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha during August of 2020. While claiming self-defense, despite crossing state lines illegally while in possession of a firearm, he put himself in possible danger attempting to answer pleas on social media from local businesses for protection, Rittenhouse pulled the trigger on three men, killing two. The lack of consequence illuminates this nation’s obsession with property. As a country, property seems so highly valued over BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) lives, that even those who do not own the property can take lives defending it with immunity. 

 Nancy Nassr, Assistant Head of School and Academic Dean, shared what this verdict entails for BIPOC nationally in her message to faculty proceeding the acquittal. She said, “The acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse on all charges reminds many of us, particularly those of us who identify as BIPOC, of the continued inequality and injustice that plagues our nation. There is no amount of justice that heals the secondary trauma of being BIPOC in America and witnessing the inconsistent ways justice is doled out.” 

This secondary trauma is also felt among members of the student body., Kekeli Penty ‘23, BSU Treasurer, expressed that, “There is now more confidence in people like Kyle; people like him can literally kill people, be acquitted of murder, get a Fox News documentary about yourself in a good light, and become a White House congressional intern.” Watching the inequitable justice system operate is heavy, making it more important than ever to have a community to lean on. 

The emails sent from school counselors and advisors, as well as the community dialogues inviting any and all to have a place to express their thoughts goes a long way. “Our school espouses and believes in the value of taking responsibility for ourselves and engaging with a global community. This is who we say we are and what we say we believe. Caring is not an option. It is a value that guides our institution,” said Nassr. This issue, like others, impacts the bubble of diversity and global mind that is LFA. It is crucial to address it, converse about it, and share different perspectives or ideas rather than create an echo chamber.

While the acquittal has shown an unequal justice system, — see and compare the tragic story of Kalief Browder– the supportive response from each corner of the campus has shown the strength of our community. 

This photo displays the Kenosha Black Lives Matter Protests (Courtesy of Creative Commons )