A Black mother was gunned down by a white neighbor with a reported reputation for menacing her community. In the latest episode of “REVOLT Black News Weekly,” global news anchor Mara S. Campo examined the aforementioned killing of Ajike “AJ” Owens and also took a look at Black children having their childhoods forsaken, Uganda’s treatment of its LGBTQ+ citizens and much more.
Ajike “AJ” Owens, a Black mother of four, was killed on June 2 by her neighbor Susan Louise Lorincz in Ocala, Florida. The 35-year-old knocked on the 58-year-old white woman’s door only to be shot through it. Owens reportedly went to the house to defend her children after the shooter, who admitted to calling them racial slurs in the past, allegedly harassed them over a tablet. Now, the question is: Will Owens receive justice, or will the white community and Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law provide a safe haven for the shooter?
“We don’t even know her by Susan; we know her by Karen,” said Ashley Evans, a neighbor of Owens’. “When I tell you everyone in the neighborhood calls this woman Karen, that is her name.” According to the neighbor, Lorincz earned her nickname, a term used for white women who harass Black people simply for the sake of existing, due to her treatment of children who would play in the field next to her rental unit. Reportedly, the supervisor of the field granted permission for the local children to play there so long as they cleaned up after themselves.
Nevertheless, Lorincz always found an issue. “REVOLT Black News Weekly” looked up several reports from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office dating back to 2021, where Lorincz called the police for everything from people knocking on her door to children screaming while playing football. Her first altercation with Owens where police were called occurred in February 2022. The police report claimed Owens’ dog was on her property and that the now-deceased picked up a “No trespassing” sign and threw it at her, leaving a mark. However, authorities noted they didn’t see any injuries or marks on Lorincz. Despite her repeated claims, law enforcement said they found no evidence of harassment.
Confrontations and altercations, sometimes violent, with those deemed “Karens” have become all too common. Often they have been getting support despite their actions, whether it be walking into the wrong apartment and shooting the lawful resident or a police officer mistaking their taser for a gun. This time, four kids have lost their dedicated mother. Lorincz was arrested four days later and charged with manslaughter and more.
Black children are too often victims. For example, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin and, most recently, Ralph Yarl were all children shot by adults who claimed they felt threatened. Researchers are pointing to a phenomenon called “adultification,” where Black children are viewed as older and bigger than they actually are. Naturally, that has an impact on the childhoods of Black kids nationwide.
Recently, 11-year-old Aderrien Murry was shot in the chest by a responding officer. It was Murry who called 911 for a domestic violence situation at the behest of his mother. The boy’s family said the cop mistook the child for an adult, despite Murry not yet standing over 5 feet tall. As mentioned, Murry’s shooting isn’t isolated. Cyrus Carmack-Belton, 14, was shot in the back and killed by a gas station owner for allegedly stealing water (he did not). Ralph Yarl, 16, was shot, and survived, after knocking on the wrong door while trying to pick up his younger siblings. All the shooters claimed they felt threatened.
“Civilians and police officers perceive Black children to be significantly older than they actually are,” said Kristen Henning, a law professor. A stat that backs up this claim is that in 2021, Black boys represented half of all preschool students who were suspended or expelled, while 35 percent of all K-12 suspensions were Black boys and in 13 states, they represented 65 percent of all school suspensions. Another potent example of this bias is in the media, where Michael Brown, who was gunned down by a police officer, was referred to as an 18-year-old “man,” while 18-year-old Payton Gendron, who murdered 10 people, was referred to as a “teenager.” Black girls have also received the same treatment, being called more “argumentative” and “violent” than their white peers — and you can add hypersexualization to that mix, too.
With Pride Month in full swing in the U.S., “REVOLT Black News Weekly” also took a look at Uganda, which has enacted some of the harshest anti-LGBTQ laws in the world. The country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 was signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni on May 29 and penalties include life in prison. Unfortunately, anti-gay sentiment has been brewing there for years. Ugandan LGBTQ activist DeLovie “Papa De” Kwagala went as far as saying they are “refugees in our own [country].”
More topics covered included an interview with the multitalented Issa Rae, who discussed her career and representing for Black women.
Be sure to catch new installments of “REVOLT Black News Weekly” every Friday at 5 p.m. ET via REVOLT’s app. Plus, watch a quick clip below.
The World According to Issa Rae