Comedian and television host Amber Ruffin moved many viewers when she gave a powerful speech to her audience about the verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.
Rittenhouse was acquitted Friday of all charges related to his killing of two protestors and injuring of a third during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August 2020.
Ruffin at times choked back tears while addressing the audience of her Peacock talk show, The Amber Ruffin Show, on Friday to deliver a simple but powerful message: "You matter." See Ruffin's speech below.
Citing what she called her "responsibility to say things... that aren't being said," Ruffin began by commenting on the subtext of the Rittenhouse case.
"I can't believe I have to say this, but..."
"It's not OK for a man to grab a gun, travel across state lines, shoot three people and 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."
Ruffin then changed tacks, giving a bracing and emotional rundown of what she thinks the Rittenhouse case, and cases like it, actually mean.
"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 that you start to get a sense that you do, a man will grab a gun he shouldn't have in the first place and travel all the way to another state just to quiet you."
"That's the power you have. So don't forget it."
Rittenhouse faced seven criminal charges for his actions at the Kenosha protests, which erupted in the wake of the killing of James Blake, a Black man, by police.
On the basis of Wisconsin's gun laws and self-defense statutes, Rittenhouse's attorneys successfully argued that he acted in self-defense when he shot at protestors Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz with a semi-automatic assault weapon, injuring the former and killing the latter two men.
But the verdict followed a trial that frequently devolved into a circus, with Judge Bruce Schroeder often seeming to be biased in Rittenhouse's favor and barring key pieces of the prosecution's video evidence on absurd grounds. To many, the case has become yet another emblem of the stark differences in how the justice system deals with white and Black criminal defendants.
Given all of this, Ruffin's emotional take on the verdict struck a chord with many, who applauded her forthright and emotional speech.
While Rittenhouse's trial is over, the legal fallout of his actions are not: both Grosskreutz and the family of Anthony Huber have filed civil suits against law enforcement authorities in Kenosha and the surrounding county, and some legal experts posit that civil suits against Rittenhouse himself may soon follow.