Amanda Gorman, the nation’s first youth poet laureate, said she was “tailed” and told “you look suspicious” by a security guard as she walked home Friday night.
“A security guard tailed me on my walk home tonight. He demanded if I lived there because ‘you look suspicious.’ I showed my keys & buzzed myself into my building. He left, no apology,” Gorman wrote in a post on her verified Instagram account.
“This is the reality of black girls: One day you’re called an icon, the next day, a threat,” she added.
In a later tweet, the 22-year-old said, “In a sense he was right. I AM A THREAT: a threat to injustice, to inequality, to ignorance. Anyone who speaks the truth and walks with hope is an obvious and fatal danger to the powers that be. A threat and proud.”
The encounter with the security guard Gorman describes is reminiscent of police violence and aggression against Black Americans, whose deaths have sparked national movements, including #BlackLivesMatter.
Black men are approximately 2.5 times more likely to die at the hands of police over a lifetime as compared to White men, according to research by the National Academy of Sciences.
Based on the 2019 study, Black women are about 1.4 times more likely to be killed by police compared with White women, according to the researchers.
In March 2020, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician, was shot and killed by police officers inside her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky during a flawed forced entry raid.
Her death sparked a national rallying cry for racial justice and an overhaul of the policing system, including the campaign #SayHerName.
“#SayHerName is grounded in the sad reality that Black women and girls who are targeted, brutalized, and killed by police are all too often excluded from mainstream narratives around police violence,” the campaign’s webpage reads.