Santina Rao. Photo: Helena Darling

Today is going to be a day I remember for the rest of my life.

On July 6, 2020 the charges against me were dropped by the Crown Attorney. I no longer have to live another day being scared of what my future will look like, or worried if I’ll be able to spend precious time together with my children.

For the past 6.5 months, every day I’ve awakened feeling like I was failing, while the charges hung over my head. Even though countless people reached out with their support, I felt alone and alienated.

As I look back at the entire situation, I will continue to be alienated, because I was, and always will be to others, “that Black girl who got assaulted in WalMart,” and people will remember me for the horrible trauma my babies and I suffered through.

Yes, I am happy the charges have been dropped. But that means there’s something new I need to fight for: the justice from the fact that a WalMart employee took it upon themselves to racially profile me, call HRP, and tell them whatever, so they’d send as many police officers as they did just for me, unarmed, and my two babies.

I suffered a broken wrist, concussion, and lacerations to my body.

The charges are dropped, but there is no justice for me. I am still currently banned from all WalMart properties, even though there was never any theft in the first place.

Now I’m demanding justice and reconciliation from WalMart and Halifax Regional Police.

For the remainder of my life on this earth, and that of my daughters, we will forever remember what happened that day, and be traumatized from what happened that day. For myself, I’ll still suffer daily from physical pain and inflammation from the broken bone I received in the incident.

The last six months I have felt as though I was standing inside a dark tunnel (cliché analogy, I know), and I truly believed I would never see that light at the end of the tunnel that everyone talks about.

I was alone. I was overwhelmed. I was frightened. Anxious. To be honest, I wanted to give up; I didn’t want to pull out any more strength from within me to fight these battles. I was tired, defeated.

I was also dealing with the aftermath of my abusive ex partner. In my state of mind, I truly believed that I didn’t deserve anything good, or pure, or wholesome in my life. I thought I was the truly horrible person he told me I was, and I believed all the other people out there hoping to see me fall, and fail.

I believed the ones who also waited to see me publicly humiliated.

Still worse, people went so far as to degrade me for my race and background. Some painted me as the person I was when I was 14 years old.

But now, I’ve shown everyone who I really am.

I have shown all of you that I will never give up. I will never back down, and I will always persist to scream my truth as loud as I humanly can!

To those of you out there touched and inspired by me, and my story:

I genuinely wish with my whole heart and soul I could hold you all in my arms, and feed you, as my way of showing my gratitude and adoration for every person who stood up for me. Those who put their necks on the line for me. Those who forced me to keep the fight going, always.

You all have been that light for me at the end of the tunnel. You’ve taken me by the hand, wrapped yourselves around me in an embrace, and given me the love that I truly needed to get myself to where I am today.

Now my next goal: to make sure both WalMart and HRP are held accountable for their wrongdoings. With the charges dropped, we have made one amazing step forward, but there’s still a battle to be fought.

This wouldn’t have turned out the way it has without everyone fighting for me, and keeping that spirit and hope alive. It wouldn’t have been possible without you. You have been my spirit when I had none. Thank you.

One weight has been lifted, but there’s more to do. The fight is never over. And if you need someone in your corner, I’m your girl.

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  1. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  2. Congrats. The charges should never have been filed.

    Hopefully a reckoning is coming for Walmart and HRP. Everyone seems desperate to get back to a pre-Covid “normal”. Institutional racism, among so many other things, should never be normal.