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My thumbs are tired of tapping through graphic videos of Black Americans dying. Yours should be too.
Most recently, the chilling video of George Floyd being mercilessly suffocated to death by officer Derek Chauvin set Instagram ablaze; in February, it was the haunting video of Ahmaud Arbery’s final moments before being shot to death by Gregory and Travis McMichael.
Video after video we see Black individuals being thrown to the ground, shot at, choked, and beaten bloody. Post after post, we are reminded of the broken justice system which continues to fail Black Americans repeatedly.
Some believe that these videos serve as proof that the US has become “more racist.” But in a recent taping of the Late Show Stephen Colbert, actor Will Smith weighed in on this debate, disagreeing with those who claim racism is getting worse. “Racism is not getting worse,” stated Smith, “it’s getting filmed.”
In a study conducted by Pew Research Center, it was reported found that, on average, #BlackLivesMatter is used 17,002 times a day, and since 2017, has been reported to be one of the top ten most popular hashtags.
But despite the ever-trending hashtags, the protests, and the pleads for justice, Black Americans are still being videotaped gasping for their lives and begging not to be killed. Despite the activism and passionate Instagram posts, Black Americans are being killed by the people who are supposed to protect them.
This problem is seen in corrupt officers like Chauvin: a department veteran of 19 years, who, despite being the subject of numerous complaints throughout the years, had yet to face any disciplinary consequences until his knee pinned defenseless “gentle giant” George Floyd to the ground in cold blood.
According to 2019 statistics from Mapping Police Violence, Black people accounted for 24% of the deaths as a result of police brutality despite only comprising 13% of the population; additionally, Black people are 3x more likely to be killed by the police than Caucasians.
In an article published in the Los Angeles Times, it was reported that 1 in 1000 Black men and boys will die at the hands of the police, which is 2.5x more than their Caucasian counterparts.
The problem is seen again in the dangerous rhetoric used by the President when discussing Black Americans. In a now flagged tweet posted to his account early Friday morning, Trump suggested that the National Guard may shoot looters and protestors enraged over the tragic death of Floyd, a stark contrast to Trump’s reaction to disgruntled Caucasian (and armed) COVID-19 protesters in Michigan earlier this month.
....These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2020
In his tweet he states:
The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 1, 2020
Spot the grotesque injustice? While Trump encourages officers to “see” and “make deals” with Caucasians waving guns in protest for haircuts, Black men and women are disgraceful “thugs” for rioting in pain at the immoral murder of Floyd.
Tomorrow, another Black person will be senselessly murdered at the hands of police and there will be no hashtags or an alarming video for the world to see. But this shouldn’t make their lives any less valuable. “Liberty and justice for all” never changed, and it shouldn’t take triggering videos circulating social media for us to remember to stand up against blatant injustice.
Many celebrities and corporations have expressed solidarity with the Black community on social media; recently, Nike posted a video to their Instagram with the caption “let’s all be part of the change. #UntilWeAllWin,” reminding us that we all have the power to make an impact.
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If you’re looking for ways to support the Black community, numerous organizations are in dire need of your donations.
Organized by his brother Philonise Floyd, the fund was created to “cover funeral and burial expenses, mental and grief counseling, lodging and travel for all court proceedings and to assist the family in the days to come as they “continue to seek justice for George.”
An organization with the mission statement of bringing justice, freedom, and healing to black people across the globe.
An organization that helps pay jail bonds for those who cannot afford to fight discriminatory and coercive jailing.
If you are unable to donate, you can support George Floyd’s cause by signing this petition calling for the arrest and charge of the officers involved in the heinous attack, calling County Attorney Mike Freeman at 612-348-5550 to demand a murder charge, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison at 651-296-3353, and Gov. Walz at 651-201-3400.
Hashtags will not combat years of embedded systematic racism in this country nor bring back Black Americans killed in vain; It only signifies an ongoing battle that must be fought.
I am tired of tapping through graphic videos of Black Americans dying at the hands of police. You should be too. I am tired of flinching at the sight of my Black brothers and sisters being beaten, harassed, and suffocated flooding my timeline. You should be too.