Meet Kionna Walker LeMalle

Kionna is my close friend, my classmate, a fellow educator, a motivational speaker, a mother and a writer, like me. She calls me her “soul sister,” and I love her with my whole heart. We are the same in so many ways—except for the color of our skin and our experiences based on race.

“I’ve been quiet about the Ahmaud Arbery case, not because it doesn’t move me but because it almost breaks me. You see, I have four brothers, three sons, and a husband — and ALL of them can share stories of mistreatment because of their race, even my youngest. My husband who is a local pastor has been held at gun point more times than most who know him (except for other black men) can imagine. I suppose one time would be too much. But there have been multiple incidents, including one which my then toddler sons had to witness. We live in this reality though we do not always speak about it out loud.

“I was retwisting my hair a few days ago, and sitting there still and quiet with my household at rest, I found myself crying for Ahmaud. This was the Saturday before Mother’s Day. I cried tears of pain and anger that yet another black mother would not see her son on Mother’s Day for no fault of his own. And it isn’t that unjust murder doesn’t ever happen to others, it is that it so often happens to ours. If you are not raising a black boy, married to a black man, or living in our brown skin, you may not fully get this. That doesn’t make you a bad person. There are things you will never understand. But please stop the rhetoric that turns an innocent black man into a criminal after his death: the rhetoric that says he is aggressive because he tried to defend himself, the rhetoric that turns the self-defense case upside down and makes the murderers justified for defending themselves against an unarmed black man.

“Someone will be angry with me when they read this, and it will likely be someone I love and care for deeply. I know because I read your posts sometimes in silence and pain. Some of you have no idea how much you hurt me with your words, but I lay in bed and pray that the God in me and the God in you, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, will keep bringing us together until the point at which all of us truly value life—all life—as much as our own and our own kind. Kind. It’s a strange word, a word that offends me deeply. We are human—all of us, are we not? And I pray for my husband and my sons and the strength to continue to raise and support them in this world that we live in that vacillates between love and hate in extremes I cannot understand. Ahmaud Arbery could have been any of my sons, and what would you say then? My heart goes out to yet another family who didn’t have a chance to say good-bye and who has to relive the sin of their son’s, nephew’s, brother’s, uncle’s death over and over again while the powers that be try to make a case against yet another voiceless, lifeless black man.”

We are human—all of us, are we not?

Kionna Walker LeMalle, May 14, 2020

30 thoughts on “Meet Kionna Walker LeMalle

  1. We are all human. We are all on the same ship in the middle of nowhere doing what we can with what we have. If that does’t feel like it generates compassion I am at a loss to say anything else. Thank you so much for this post.

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  2. Thank you for this post, Crystal, and thank you, Kionna. Sadly, the world of white folks needs to keep hearing these stories in order to truly understand. I am cautiously optimistic that far more are beginning to comprehend the enormity of the horrific effects of racism on people’s lives.

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  3. “We live in this reality, but we do not always speak about it out loud.” This story gives me fresh eyes about how racism permeates our world—especially the part about blaming the victims after the fact. Your friend and her family are brave souls who speak for so many others.

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    1. Thank you for your response, David. For a long time, we would only speak of such experiences in closed circles with other African Americans. We have long feared harsh responses and rejection, but now that all of our children are teenagers struggling to make sense of the world, pushing through their own fears, and trying to figure out how to make a positive difference, I started writing about our experiences to teach my children how to communicate theirs and in hope that those who believe racism is a thing of the past will realize we still have progress to make in our dear United States of America. I am teaching my children to be patient with those who do not yet understand and to help those who are ready to learn.

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  4. A beautiful soul indeed. The abuse and discrimination has to stop. If some people were not so determined to use this to deflect attention from other things, we could all see more clearly. Watching The 13th on Netflix, I am amazed that hope still exists in the world of the persecuted. I think the words “Defund the Police” scare the H out of many people, as they think the police will be done away with. Perhaps the word” Refocus” needs to be used. Police, Social Workers and Mental Health workers all need to be part of a team to address root causes of poverty and crime, rather than letting old social norms continue to inflict harsh punishments on simple loitering, etc. I, too have hope. But, twits need to stop tweeting misinformation. Allan

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    1. After George Floyd’s death, I wanted to say something, but I realized this wasn’t about me. I reached out to a few people and told them I was thinking of them and asked if I could share their stories. I’m thankful for their perspectives and permission.

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  5. Crystal, from the moment God allowed our paths to cross, you have been my sister. I love you dearly. Your blog ministers to me often, and I am honored that you chose to share my words with your followers.

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  6. Thanks for sharing, Kionna. People shouldn’t have to know and love a black person to recognize the common thread of humanity that runs through us all, but unfortunately it seems that way. I saw Denzel Washington say in an interview that when those men chased down Ahmaud, they saw him as less than human. That made me cry.

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  7. you gave us all so much to thank you for Crystal. It is these acts of sharing, caring, lifting up others that make us who we truly are. I am sure God is mighty pleased when He watches these little acts of kindness and love you share. Thank you.

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