“There’s two viruses killing Americans: COVID-19 and Racism-20,” said CNN host, Don Lemon during CNN Tonight’s May 27 broadcast.
For more than 400 years, black people in America have been tortured, tormented and beaten down physically and mentally. We were even told at one point in time that we were three-fifths of a person.
There has been a numerous amount of peaceful protesting to seek justice for black people in America. In 1965 The Selma to Montgomery March took place. This was a peaceful protest where protesters marched on a 54-mile route towards Alabama’s state capital where they were confronted with brutality from the police and other outside groups who did not support their strive for equality.
51 years later in 2016, Colin Kaepernick, who was a quarterback for the 49ers, took a knee during the national anthem to peacefully protest against police brutality and to the injustice that is brought upon people of color on a daily basis. However, people still were not getting the message. There were many complaints and comments that he was being disrespectful to kneel during the anthem.
This was a stab to the heart. Yet again, people were turning a blind eye to the overall message that innocent lives of black people are constantly being taken away.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” said Kaepernick to NFL Media in 2016.
There have been multiple deaths this year and deaths last year caused by police brutality.
Breonna Taylor, a black woman, died on March 13. The police were investigating two men who they believed were selling drugs in a home that was not close in proximity to Taylor’s home. The Louisville police received a “no-knock” warrant from a judge that allowed them to search her home without identifying themselves to search for drugs. Within a brief moment, she was shot at least eight times.
Video footage was released on May 8, of a black man named Ahmaud Arbery jogging in a Georgia neighborhood who died because he was attacked and shot multiple times by a father and son. The father was a former police officer and investigator for the district attorney’s office.
Video footage was released May 26, when a white woman in New York called the cops on a black man who was birdwatching in Central Park because he asked her to put her dog on a leash. She proceeded to tell the cops that a black man was threatening her and her dog.
Almost everything that was mentioned above happened while being recorded. How many deaths were caused by police brutality that were not caught on camera this year and in the past twenty-years? How many police officers actually went to prison for murder? Unanswered questions like these make me sick to the core of my stomach.
Anger, frustration and devastation are only a fragment of overwhelming emotions pouring out of me. I feel disgusted that I even have to put police and brutality in the same sentence. I’m tired of feeling anxiety around law enforcement because me, my dad or mom could become another hashtag in a black lives matter movement. The thought of having my own children one day taken from me like Treyvon Martin, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland or Philando Castile should not have to be a fear of mine, but it is. This is my reality along with many other black people in America.
My grandmother is 79 years old and I’m 18 years old. Somehow, we are still having to fight the same fight of oppression against black people in America.
However, the disturbing death of another black man in America caused by law enforcement caught on camera, could possibly be a turning point for change.
On May 28, video footage was released of an officer putting his knee directly on George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Floyd clearly states in the video that he cannot breathe and that he is in pain. While Floyd is crying out, the three other officers are just watching him being murdered right before their eyes.
After centuries of black people being lynched, falsely imprisoned and killed by the hands of authorities, people in America are finally opening their eyes to the horrific injustice and brutality that is happening within the justice system.
People all over the country and even the world are protesting against systemic racism and police brutality. Our cries out to the justice system are no longer being put on mute. We are finally being heard. As a young black woman in America, for once, I feel like we are not fighting the battle of oppression alone.
Seeing people protesting and supporting that my brothers and sisters and I do matter, makes me feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This is definitely a sign of hope in this country, but there is still work to be done.