ANTHONY HILL: 2 YEARS LATER
Written by Devyn Springer
Two years ago we lost Anthony Hill.
Anthony Hill, who stood about 5 foot 8 inches with brown skin and a wide smile, was another Black body taken from the Earth by the brunt force of state violence. For those unaware, Anthony was an Air Force veteran diagnosed with PTSD and Bipolar disorder who was not receiving the proper treatment from the state he deserved. He was shot and killed by officer Robert Olsen while having a probable manic episode two years ago on March 9th, and for more details of what happened can be found here.
To mark the two year anniversary of his passing I wanted to get a chance to share and uplift the words of Bridget Anderson, Atlanta activist and girlfriend of Anthony Hill, and let her tell us in her her own words what life looks like two years after such a loss. Focusing both on Anthony and the time that has passed, Bridget discusses where the court case against officer Robert Olsen is at now, as well as some encouraging words on self-care and resistance.
In her own words:
First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I know not only are you a busy woman, but this can also be a heavy topic for you.
Thanks so much for giving me the space to share him.
So the readers know; we became best friends over a year ago. After weeks of protesting with you, I finally built the courage to ask you to meet me for coffee and a small, intimate interview.
I remember I was nervous to meet you! But it felt like a conversation with an old friend right away. Thanks for making me feel comfortable when I was so vulnerable.
The last time I interviewed you, you spoke about the depression that set in after the interviews, protests, marches, and organizing began to slow down. You said that self care is the only way you were able to overcome everything. So, how is your self care going?
My battle with depression is in a pretty good space at the current moment. I’m at a job where I feel valued and respected. I laugh more than I cry. I laugh hard at least once a day and that’s a huge step for me. I would say that March 2016 until now has really been the healing part of my grief. I was going so hard the first year that I couldn’t breathe until we got the first win, the indictment.
Currently, I am self-caring the hell out of myself. I took the day off to take a hot bath, do a facial and cry openly. I will admit that I’ve been heavily slacking on my self care. It’s definitely a routine that you have to make time for. Yoga has also helped me physically and mentally be in tune with myself. I try to do it at least 3 times a week. I talk openly with my partner about how I’m feeling and she helps me get through a lot as well. I’m in good space, but waiting for justice is also exhausting, you know?
Yes, I can imagine[...] I remember you made a tweet that said what happened when Anthony was killed, and it went viral. It instantly got thousands of retweets and when we saw that you were local, we instantly reached out to you.
Yes, I remember having to delete my twitter app shortly after I posted it. Then re-downloading it when I couldn’t sleep and seeing people from Rise Up DM’ing me about scheduling a protest. I couldn’t believe that y’all planned a protest in such a short time frame and had that big of a turn out! I was watching it live in my parent's living room with my best friends. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
Reflecting back, two years ago today the Earth lost Anthony and a movement in Atlanta began, with you at the center of it. We never could have imagined the push to decriminalize mental illness could get so much support. What feelings are in your heart two years later?
I wrote my feelings out for two hours this morning and realized that without this tragedy, I would still be 2015 Bridget. As cliche as it is to say “everything happens for a reason,” I am truly at peace knowing that Anthony’s soul was put on this earth for something bigger. I’ve healed little by little everyday, but it especially hurts today. I can still hear Anthony saying my name in my head, but it’s very faint when it use to be so clear.