On Friday’s edition of her HBO Max chat show, Amber Ruffin became visibly emotional talking about the shocking acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse in his murder trial. And after listing several of the things wrong with the whole sorry situation, she had a simple message for her Black viewers: “You matter.”
Rittenhouse, when he was 17 years old, left his Illinois home with an assault rifle and traveled to Kenosha, Wisc., on Aug. 25, 2020 as the city was experiencing days of protests over the shooting of a man named Jacob Blake by local police. The situation was chaotic and it appears several people among the protestors were armed with firearms — one of them fired into the air around the time Rittenhouse happened to walk over, causing a panic.
Rittenhouse, who did not live in this community and went out of his way to visit it while armed with a deadly weapon, shot and killed a protestor who tried to disarm him. He was then chased off by several other protesters, some of whom rushed him and tried to attack him — during the fight Rittenhouse shot and killed a second person and wounded a third. He was allowed to leave the scene and was arrested later. Out on bail, he was photographed making a white power gesture and associating with white supremacists.
And on Friday, the jury in his murder trial determined all that constituted a valid instance of self defense.
“Because I have my own show, I have a responsibility to say things that people need to know,” Ruffin said at the star of her commentary on that verdict. “That aren’t being said. It’s a cool opportunity that I don’t take lightly. There are big, obvious truths that no one wants to say on TV. But I will.”
“Now, just a few minutes before we started taping this show, Kyle Rittenhouse, the man accused of shooting three people during a Black Lives Matter protest, was declared not guilty on all charges,” Ruffin continued.
“So I can’t believe I have to say this, but,” Ruffin said before pausing to collect herself, “it’s not ok for a man to grab a rifle, travel across state lines, and shoot three people and then walk free.”
“It’s not ok for the judicial system to be blatantly and obviously stacked against people of color. It’s not ok for there to be an entirely different set of rules for white people,” She added. “But I don’t care about Kyle Rittenhouse. I don’t care about that racist judge. And I don’t care how f—ed up that jury must be.”
“White people have been getting away with murder since time began. I don’t care about that. I care about you. And I can’t believe I have to say this, but you matter,” Ruffin said.
“Every time one of these verdicts come out, it’s easy to feel like you don’t, but I’m here to tell you that you do. You matter. You matter so much that the second you start to get a sense that you do, a man will grab a gun that he shouldn’t have in the first place, and travel all the way to another state just to quiet you,” Ruffin continued.
“That’s the power you have. So don’t forget it,” she concluded.
Watch her complete remarks below right now: