Updated: Sep 9
The #BlackLivesMatter is a tag and movement that was created in 2013 to bring awareness to police brutality against black people after the murder of Trayvon Martin, and is still very relevant today.
I mean how could they? Especially when black people only make up 13% of the population, yet are 24% of the people being killed by the police each year. Black people are 3 times more likely to be killed by police than white people, and 1.3 times more likely to be unarmed in comparison to white people. Eight of the 100 largest city police departments kill black men at higher rates than the U.S. murder rate. Let all that sink in for a minute, I know it's a lot.
Even though these numbers help to put the big picture into perspective, we cannot forget that each number and statistic represents a human being; a person who had a family, friends, hobbies, likes, dislikes, feelings, thoughts. They are all people who deserved to be treated as so, and instead were shot down by the very people who were meant to protect them. We need to remember their stories.
George Floyd was 46 years old, the father to two young daughters, and just trying to get some food when he was murdered on May 5th, 2020 in Powderhorn, Minnesota. The cashier suspected Floyds $20 was counterfeit, and so police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyds neck and head for 8 minutes and 46 seconds; 2 minutes and 53 seconds of which Floyd was unresponsive for. Before becoming unconscious, Floyd was pleading for his life and saying "I can't breathe," "Please," "Don't kill me." Three other police officers stood by and let Chauvin kill George Floyd. Their names are Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas K. Lane, and they need to be prosecuted.
We can no longer allow the police to mistreat our neighbors, our friends, our equals. The police departments have been letting their cops get away with beatings and murders for far too long, barely giving them a slap on the wrist in turn for taking a life. There have been too many deaths, too many 'thoughts and prayers,' it is time for radical change. We need all cops with past records of brutality to be removed from the force, and many to be prosecuted.
Having these conversations and facing the truth about the way our country is run is hard, it's uncomfortable, and it forces a lot of people to look at themselves in a new way. Oftentimes people avoid hard conversations in order to avoid the consequences of past actions, but comfort can not be a priority anymore - not when it is costing lives.
Growing up in a mainly white state and town, conversations of race were rare, but going to school in New York, I made friends that I can talk to about the hard, sad, and tragic things in life, even the things that I cannot relate to. These are the kinds of conversations that need to be had in order for real change to happen. Unfortunately, it took another murder and a series of riots to get the majority of the nation really talking.
Though the riots have gained the people's attention, violence is not necessarily the solvent for the wrongdoings of the police. More people are being injured by tear gas, rubber bullets, and other forms of force by the police every day. If you are protesting, remember to cover your tattoos, leave anything illegal home, bring water, and wear goggles. Use your voice to take action.
You can also make a difference by signing petitions and donating to various causes. Find links to these at the bottom.
We are living in a time of unrest. I am sad for the state of this country, and scared for my friends who are watching violence unfold in their cities, outside of their homes. What we can do now is stand together for justice, keep the conversation going, and remember the people whose lives were taken from them. #BlackLivesMatter.
Places to Donate: