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The Real Effects of Systemic Racism: Brandon Bernard's Story

The Real Effects of Systemic Racism: Brandon Bernard's Story

Author Samiah Rahman by

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Trigger warning for murder, excecution, and hate crime against the Black community.

“If these are my last days, I pray that my words will live on forever...I hope that my death will bring a meaning other than destruction and it will ripple through generations positively” - Brandon Bernard.

After the protests this past summer, an extensive amount of change occurred, but not enough. Brandon Bernard, a black man, was killed by a death sentence. Four death sentences have been moved up this year. These executions were scheduled for 2021 and under Biden’s administration, but the Trump administration moved them so that Biden does not have the ability to pardon them. This breaks the 130-year precedent that the federal government is supposed to pause all executions during Election Night to a President’s inauguration. This instance was premeditated on Trump’s part.

There have been extremists and mass murderers who have been let out of custody because of mental disorders and ‘good behavior’-Brandon did not kill anyone and was sentenced for gang relations at 18 years old. In the 20 years he was imprisoned, he showed tremendous growth, and even started a crocheting group with fellow inmates. Bernard’s 16-year-old daughter said her father consistently warned her to stay away from the wrong crowds, and how one bad decision can ruin one’s life. “I am hoping and asking the President to spare my dad’s life,” she said. Brandon Bernard was pronounced dead at 9:27 pm on Thursday, December 10, 2020.

The prison system was designed to incarcerate and destroy the lives of minorities, and is racially biased. The majority of the Black and people of color in prison are wrongly convicted. The root of policing in America ties back to slave patrols, and it shows in the modern policing system today. White mass murderers, from school shootings to racially targeted crimes, have been set free, yet black men and women have been killed for holding toys, food, and in the midst of complying with authority.

Brandon’s story is one of countless lives that have been stolen. It is encouraged, as an ally to the Black community, to continue to educate yourselves, peers, and loved ones. Uplift the Black community and get rid of your implicit bias. Are you a performative activist? Or are you actively promoting change and have the intention to truly support those who are struggling?

Brandon’s message to the public -
Brandon’s attorney gave a message to the public on his behalf, from his last phone call. He wanted everyone who supported him to know he is grateful; he was certain he would have the chance to say it himself and write thank you letters. His main message he wanted to convey is to not hang around with those who are a bad influence. The most important gift to him was the support given to his family. He talked about music a lot, and that he’s been into classical music, which soothed his soul. He loved to crochet, and said if anyone saw his cell, they would assume it belongs to a grandma. He left this Earth feeling supported and loved.


Mental health resources for the Black community:

Atlanta Solidarity Fund:

Nationwide Bail Funds:

Educational resource on BailFunds:

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