Breaching the peace is one of the oldest legal offenses. In the Middle Ages, those who disturbed the king’s peace by behaving “uncivilized" were punished.
These laws still exist. And while centuries passed, the definition of “order,” and who’s allowed to enforce it hasn’t changed.
In 2020, Brittany Martin was charged with aggravated breach of peace for voicing her grief. “We ready to die for this. We tired of it,” she said to South Carolina police. “You better be ready to die for the blue. I’m ready to die for the Black.”
In return, Martin was sentenced to four years in prison.
While incarcerated, she has struggled through pregnancy, suffered verbal harassment from guards, and survived being punished with solitary for refusing to cut her locs.
None of that is a restoration of “peace.” It’s a commitment to an anti-Black definition of order. One that requires sabotaging and brutalizing protesters fighting for the kind of liberated world that would strip the people in power of their excess and violence.
But we can commit to our own definition of order. And in the spirit of the ancestors, current political prisoners, and our future, never stop building that world. Never.