CNN’s Omar Jimenez Could Have Been Me — Or Any of My Black Colleagues

Only syllables and circumstances made the difference

Jada Gomez
LEVEL
Published in
4 min readMay 31, 2020

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He could have been me.

Update 6/7/22: Level has a new home. You can read this article and other new articles by visiting LEVELMAN.com.

I’ve been in journalism for 15 years. Early in my career, I saw my desk covered by Hillary Clinton TIME covers that folks defaced with disgusting vitriol and mailed back to us. I was inundated by racist letters I received about then-Senator Barack Obama. But I was 22 years old, Black and Latinx, and ready to represent all the people before me who didn’t have the chance.

When Tamir Rice was gunned down in a Cleveland park while playing with a toy, I edited stories about his murder — and the Black public outcry that seemed to fall on deaf ears — while I felt my heart split open for a 12-year-old boy. The night Trayvon Martin’s murderer walked free, I fired up my laptop. I swallowed my emotions and hugged my Black colleagues who were terrified for their children, and I put some of that pain on my shoulders for them. Whenever these situations happen, I bristle, I brace myself, and I get to work.

But this is different. Flipping between stories and emotions, taking rapid-fire hits to my heart, I’ve reached a breaking point. In the month of May alone, we learned of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery for simply running while Black; we found out that police stormed Breonna Taylor’s home looking for someone who had already been apprehended; we watched a woman threaten Christian Cooper with a weaponized 911 call after he asked her to leash her dog in Central Park; we saw George Floyd die in the street, his airway crushed under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. It was horrifying, but I could handle it. It’s what I went to school for. It’s what I love to do — tell the story.

Black people are disproportionately dying from Covid-19; George Floyd survived the virus and still died with cries of “I can’t breathe.” Where is the justice? Where is the relief?

But the final straw for me came on Friday morning, when I saw the footage of CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez being arrested live on…

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Jada Gomez
LEVEL

Senior Platform Editor at Medium. Girl with the long last name from the Empire State. NYU Alum. Runner. Puppy Mommy. Smiler.