Those names are all victims of police brutality. Those are people who lost their lives far too early due to police officers who abused their power. These are just a few names that we honor in the Black Lives Matter movement.
Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter is not a political statement or movement. It is a statement that must take seriously and that people can hear. For those who chime in with All Live Matter, please understand that all lives cannot matter until black ones do. Black lives do not matter to the police who continue to violently and senselessly kill black people in the street.
George Floyd was murdered at the hands of a police officer while three other officers stood by and watched. Floyd was in accusation of forgery, so the police came. Floyd paid with an alleged counterfeit twenty-dollar bill. Reports now say that the bill was not fake. He was under arrest and held on the pavement. An officer kneeled on the back of his neck, causing him to suffocate to death. Floyd cried out for his mother, complaining that he was in pain, and how he could not breathe. The officer kneeled on him from anywhere between 5-9 minutes. For 3 of those minutes, Floyd was not responsive. The officers killed an innocent man.
Derek Chauvin was eventually under arrest and received charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter. This is not enough. The officers who stood by and watched their brother murder a man in cold blood need to be arrested as well. Arrests mean nothing if there is no conviction.
Right now, there are protests popping up across the country. Boston had one of the largest protests in history. Large crowds invite chaos. We have seen it in Boston on numerous occasions while celebrating championships. However, the march was just the opposite. Seeing people march through the streets, demanding justice and change so peacefully moved me. The videos of chants filling the streets as those with signs marched reminded me why I love my city.
Saturday was not about winning. It was about loss. The loss of black lives that were taken by the hands of those who are supposed to serve and protect. There is a desperate need for change within the system. From prosecutors, judges, doctors, to police. Change needs to happen.
What can you do?
While social media activism is great, more needs to be done. Put your proverbial money where your mouth is. Sharing resources is great. Passing along correct information is crucial. Calling out racism and microaggressions is a must.
I Understand That I Will Never Understand
I am a white woman who does not know what it is liked to be oppressed or targeted because of the color of my skin. Personally, I will never know the fear of a police officer pulling me over. I won’t ever be stopped or shot at because I’m jogging in a neighborhood filled with residents of a certain tax bracket. I’m not in a position to tell someone how they should protest or mourn. However, I am here to listen to how I can help. How can I use my privilege to help? What is helpful when spreading awareness and what is not? Are there resources I have access to that I can pass along to you?
The rioting. I know this is on everyone’s mind. Target in Minnesota was targeted because of their affiliation with the St. Paul Police Department- the department that murdered George Floyd. There was a report saying that they refused to sell milk to protestors. For those who don’t know, you can use milk to help flush out pepper spray. Could Target have been following the “limit per customer” rule that has been in place due to COVID-19? I don’t know. I was not there. Looting began. People went in for first aid essentials and then people took advantage of the chaos and took what they wanted.
What’s important to remember is that these protests around the country have started off peaceful. When met with force from the police, things tend to escalate. I don’t believe this is the case in all protests but I think there is a correlation there.
In Boston, it appeared that once a majority of the peaceful protesters left. A group with ill intent swooped in flipped the script. Violence and looting ensued. I do not condone looting. However, I understand that material things can be replaced and lives cannot. CEO’s have come out and said they have insurance and know that their merchandise can be replaced but lives cannot.
Seeing videos of cities and businesses are uncomfortable to watch. You think about the people out of work due to COVID and now they’re out of work even longer due to a fire being set.
If a few bad apples who loot discredit the Black Lives Matter movement, what about the bad apples within the police force? What does that say about the departments?
Blue lives are not a thing. You choose to be a police officer. You do not choose your skin color.
Speaking Out and Advocating For Change
Many companies have come out with statements condemning violence, police brutality, or something that screams all lives matter. As of this very moment, the New England Patriots still have not released a statement condemning police brutality and supporting Black Lives Matter.
That’s embarrassing. Is Robert Kraft really worrying about ruffling Donald Trump’s feathers and tarnishing his own reputation among the rich? Why can they go on tweeting about this and that but not tweet three simple words along with a donation link? Black. Lives. Matter.
If you are looking to do more, please consider checking out this link. If you have the ability to donate, please do so. I donated my coffee money for the week knowing someone needed that $20 more than me. There are so many ways to make a change and it’s time we move forward in this revolution.
Remember, all lives cannot matter until black lives do.
Say their names.
-Jess Belmosto ( @jessbelmosto)
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