They Watched Her Get Kidnapped, And Did Nothing To Help

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L. Graciella Maiolatesi
May 30, 2022

They grabbed her and dragged her through the streets. She fought ferociously to get free – as the white onlookers did nothing. Tying her up, they loaded her onto a boat. They could still hear her screaming as the boat sailed away.

Her name was Chloe Cooley, and she was kidnapped from Canada around 1793 and sold to an enslaver. The injustice ignited a flame in Canadian abolitionist leaders – a Lieutenant Governor even used the incident to demand Canada set limits on importing and exporting enslaved persons. 

But what happened to Cooley?

Canada recognizes Cooley as a “person of national historic significance” – but no one knows what happened to her! No one cared enough to go after her or fight for her during her capture. 

They just watched as a Black person was traumatized.

Chloe was kidnapped around 1793, but we still see similarities to her kidnapping today. When Black trauma is publicized, white people join protest movements, and claim Black Lives Matter. 

But rarely does anyone intervene in the moment to actually prevent injustice from happening.

Our well-being is treated as an afterthought. Black people shouldn’t have to endure public trauma to prove we are worthy of care! 

We need to be proactively protected, and we know we can’t rely on white people. Like Cooley, we must fight for ourselves when no one else will.

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