“Nobody got hurt that day but her”: Remembering Yuvette Henderson

Photo: Yuvette Henderson, who was shot and killed by Emeryville police in 2015.

 

Interview with Jamison Robinson

In 2015, Emeryville police shot and killed 38-year-old Yuvette Henderson in broad daylight with an AR-15. Her alleged charge was shoplifting from Home Depot. She was killed by Emeryville police officers Warren Williams and Michelle Sheppard in 2015 on the west Oakland border. She was shot dead within 7 seconds of police arriving on the scene. Her murder sparked massive protests, including the activist lockdown of Home Depot amidst the national Say Her Name protests.

She left behind four children, one granddaughter, and her brother, Jamison Robinson, also known as Cydewayz in the hip-hop scene. Jamison spoke to our reporter Chris Lee at Bobby Hutton Park in Oakland, four blocks from where he and his sister Yuvette grew up. This piece was edited by Lucy Kang.

The following is an edited excerpt from a longer interview with Jamison about his sister Yuvette:

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My mother passed away when I was eight. She was 13. So she basically was my mother figure.

She had to grow up early. A lot of us kids in Oakland had to grow up fast and just become adults at a young age.

She was strong. For her to be so little, she was kind of compact but all that, just strong.

I’ll always remember her laugh because she was so goofy. She just would laugh. And like once she laughed, she’ll [be] laughing for hours. She was just constantly, just keep laughing. And then she laughed. And then I laughed, and then this person. Everybody laughing and stuff. Her laugh is so contagious. And she was just fun to be around.

She had passed away when she was 38. And I’m 38 now.

I mean, I just thought she was going to be around a long time. I really just had plans of her being a grandmother to my kids.

Just recently, before she passed away, she became a grandmother. My oldest niece had just had a baby. She didn’t even get a chance to see him.

Yeah, I miss her a lot. There’d be days where I’m not even thinking about her, but [there’s] just tears just falling down. And I know where it’s coming from. It’s because I miss her.

I miss just calling her. It seemed like she always had the answer for everything. I can call her whenever I need advice on something. She always was there. And she had an answer for everything. I just hear her telling me that I don’t call enough, and I need to call more. She used to always say that, you will never call me. And I’m like, I’m calling you right now so what do you mean? She’s like you need to call more. Now I see why.

I miss her a lot. If I could just tell her it was going to be alright. Whatever it was, she was going through that day, I wish I was there so I can just understand why everything [that] happened that had to happen that way.

It’s like every time I accomplish something, I get the urge to call her. Every time I do something, she’ll be real proud – especially, especially me not drinking anymore. Cause that was like one of the last things I think I remember talking to her. I had told her that I was drinking too much. And she was like, it’s time to stop. She was like, whatever you’re going through, alcohol is not gonna help.

I just wanted people to know that she didn’t deserve to be murdered. There’s so many different ways that the police could have handled that without killing her.

She wasn’t no harm to nobody. Nobody got hurt that day but her. And then for them to shoot her with an AR-15, that’s just like military style, just execution.

“Nobody got hurt that day but her.”

It’s still so real that she’s gone.

I just feel like she’s still here. She’s like gone on a vacation. I feel like she still subliminally sends messages letting me know that she’s alright. Either she’s alright, or she’s telling me that I need to talk more and speak up more. Cause I feel like she’s still not resting.

When I do think about her and I try to like reach out for her, I get this roller coaster of emotions. I get happy, then I get sad, and I get glad, and I get frustrated. And then I have to just realize this is real and I have to just come back to reality and realize that I still keep going forward for myself. Basically me bettering myself is probably what’s keeping me going because I know she’s looking at me. I’m pretty sure she looking in and being very proud that I was able to do all the things that I’m doing without her help.

I try and do my best to keep her name alive.

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This story is part of the series TAKEN FROM US: Remembering lives lost to police violence.

This piece was reported and recorded by Chris Lee and edited and produced by Lucy Kang.

First aired on UpFront on July 2, 2020

 

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