“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
America is on fire after the world watched the recorded tragic, inhumane killings of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. As a result, more than 350 cities around the globe are a part of the outcry for the arrest of all the officers involved in killing George Floyd but the bigger cry for help is the humanitarian acknowledgment that Black Lives Matter.
The recent peaceful protests that started in Minneapolis caused the world to pay attention to the murder of George Floyd and to realize what it is like to be a black man or woman in America. Not only were Americans shocked at the horrible killings of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, but they were also doubly shocked and angry that justice failed these two young men. Their murderers and accomplices were never arrested or charged. It took over two months to get Ahmaud's white murderers arrested in Georgia and only after the tape was released months later and the nation saw it and only because they petitioned and wrote officials were the three men arrested later. But it took months after the murder to get justice.
In George's case, we witnessed him aggressively yanked from the back of a police car, pushed to the ground, and watched his murder as a white police officer kneeled with his full body weight on his neck until he could no longer get oxygen to his brain. All while he was cuffed.
We watched as police officers just stood around and did nothing as George told them he could not breathe and that his body hurt. We watched him in desperation and fear, crying out to his mother in pain, knowing that he was going to be killed by the cop. If it makes you uncomfortable it should. It took national protests to get Officer Chauvin arrested for suffocating him mercilessly, which took place four days after death on May 29th.
It took a total of nine days to get all four officers arrested and the charge to Officer Chauvin to be raised from third-degree to second-degree.
Let's not forget Breonna Taylor who was innocently killed by the crossfire and bullets from the Louisville Police Department in her own apartment. The no-knock warrant that was approved by a judge was illegal and the police did not announce themselves before hitting the door with a ram. The detective and police lied in an affidavit and said that they suspected Taylor's boyfriend was receiving packages of drugs and had confirmed it from the postal inspector. The postal inspector later confirmed that he did not speak to the police about any suspicious packages (later verified that they were shoes and clothes). Taylor's boyfriend who was a licensed gun owner thought that they were being robbed and started shooting at them. He was arrested but later released. The officers involved still have not been charged.
"I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical." – Thomas Jefferson
Why protests happen and how they turn to riots
Look at history's trail of oppression and obstacles such as enslavement towards African Americans. Starting with slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation, Jim Crow Laws, to Segregation. Then the Civil Rights March led by Martin Luther King Jr in 1963 was the response to the violence of the lynchings and killings of Black men, women, and children in the South; although these were peaceful protests, they were met with abhorrent violence and arrests by a white supremacist system.
Years of insurmountable dehumanization led to psychological and emotional trauma, ingrained in the very DNA of African Americans. Then combine that with extreme distrust of society and the laws in which are supposed to protect them are the laws that make it easy to murder them. Our very own Constitution was built to give people rights but somehow has loopholes that don't usually work in the favor of Black people.
This is not the first time the United States has had a riot but this is the first time the United States has had an overwhelming national riot, this is a major Civil Rights revolution that has caused a shift in our societal paradigm.
Many peaceful protests are happening despite the attention from the media on the destruction of businesses, looting, and arson in America that has been highjacked by other people that are clearly not there for George Floyd or Black Lives Matter. There are beautiful protests also happening in Paris, London, and Amsterdam. The people there are also crying for America and their own countries' treatment of black and brown people. #AsianLivesforBlackLivesMatter is another community that has shown solidarity, this is huge because there has been a division between Asian Americans and Blacks and the primary cause of that is due to white supremacy in our culture.
No blame should be on African Americans and Black Lives Matters as the cause of the riots that are happening in our country -- America has a historical pattern of rebellion, protests turned to riots. The Atlantic in their most recent article "The Double Standard of the American Riot" says "The philosophy of force and violence to obtain freedom has long been employed by white people and explicitly denied to black Americans." It also states that "if violence was a political language, white Americans are native speakers." The article goes on to quote an African American abolitionist, Fredrick Douglass as he spoke about rebellion, "There is cause to be thankful even for rebellion. It is an impressive teacher, though a stern and terrible one. The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion."
This is a huge wakeup call to the effects and damage of colonialism that were never reconciled, just taken. Listen to the national cry for freedom, a cry that has been burning with neglect and disregarded for hundreds of years. The fire that burns is not property, but its the hearts that bleed, souls that cry to be treated as a human. This is a global humanitarian pandemic.
Be the Voice Against Anti-Blackness
Black screens flooded social media this past Tuesday, June 2nd, as influencers, celebrities, corporations, non-profits, and regular citizens all joined in on the music industry movement #TheShowMustBePaused that originated by two music executives, Jamila Thomas and Brianna Ageymany. As musicians and creators, we need to continue to use our platforms to help build a new way of thinking in social justice. Let's keep this dialogue open and active, following it up with an action plan in our everyday lives. The fight has only begun.
How to Be A Part of the Humanitarian Revolution: Let's not forget Ahmaud and Breonna
If you have shied away from becoming active in the community, the right to become an activist in your community is now. Speak up and get engaged. If you don't know the first steps the resources here are some sites and resources that I have collected that can help you in your first step:
Support Louisville Community Bail Fund to help protestors that are unjustly arrested for demonstrating on behalf of Breonna Taylor
Help the family of Ahmaud Arbery #IRunWithMaud
Know your rights when protesting and if you face police brutality
Support your local #BlackLivesMatter, take action and also sign the petition
Your VOICE is your power, so VOTE Remember to Vote on local and state levels
Showing up for Racial Justice: What exactly is White Supremacy and how are we brainwashed by it?
Message from the author:
I am multi-ethnic. The different cultures of my genetic makeup have varying stereotypes on Black Lives. Despite the protests, I realize those cultures hold individual reservations regarding racism and being I check multiple boxes, has put me in the position of both observer and recipient. I understand that this topic would make one feel very uncomfortable. However, we should focus on how this movement has put the world on an internal check. If you are not accustomed to speaking out about anti-blackness, have not thought about it until now, or experienced racism yourself—this is normal. Collectively as a community and the world, we must share responsibility, wake up to change, and create an inclusive environment for future generations.
If you see BIPOC being treated unfairly. SPEAK UP! Do not be complicit with silence. It starts with the internal healing of old ideologies or stereotypes, taking action through our behavior, and getting involved with communities other than our own. And yes, don't forget to VOTE! (For all local, state, and federal elections)