It is amazing how a year can change us or the world as we know it to be.
One year ago today, George Floyd‘s life was taken by Derek Chauvin. Floyd could have been just another number, another causality of the police brutality against Americans of color. Instead, he became an icon and a match that would light the fire of protest against prejudice and hatred for people across the country and the world.
I wish that it did not have to be this way. Mr. Floyd did not have to die that day. But because he was a black man in America, Chauvin decided that he was both judge and juror.
May the memory of George Floyd forever be a blessing and a reminder of how powerful and pervasive racism can be.
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
Justice was served in the United States. Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd.
If am to be completely honest, I was holding my breath as I watched the news coverage. G-d only knows what would have happened had Chauvin been acquitted.
I can only hope that this case represents a change not just for the various law enforcement departments across this country, but for the country as a whole. If we are to reach the imagery and idealism that is the backbone of this nation, this verdict is an important step. The police can no longer target men and women of color without impunity.
Though this case cannot remove the stain of the past, it is a what we need to move forward. Perhaps the future is bright in this country after all.
There is a Chinese curse which says, “May he live in interesting times.” Interesting times is one way to explain what is happening in the United States.
Last week, a 13 year old boy was shot and killed by police in Chicago. His name was Adam Toledo. He was murdered because the officers believed that he had a gun. Adding salt to the wound was the reference by Fox News host and all around asshole Sean Hannity that this child was a fully grown man. I see two issues with this story.
The blood of this young man is not just on the hands of the police officers who killed him. It is on everyone who played their part to get this supposed weapon into young Mr. Toledo’s hands.
Our local and national law enforcement department must be able to do their jobs. But they have to get it into their heads and their training materials that they are not avenging angels. The police are just one link in the chain of the justice system.
May the memory of this boy be a blessing and finally get us off our asses to stop police brutality against Americans of color.
In response to the umpteenth mass shooting in the United States since March, President Biden referred to this new wave as a national embarrassment. I can’t think of a better description of this unnecessary slaughter of innocent civilians. We can fix this problem, it doesn’t take a genius to put together a national law to prevent future events of this nature. The problem is that some Republican lawmakers are blind to the idea that any national gun control legislation does not infringe on the rights of gun owners who are of sound mind and followed the laws. It is a measure that desperately needed (and has been needed for more than two decades) to save lives.
I don’t know what it will take to wake this country up, but something has to be done.
One of racism’s side effects is that it makes everything more complicated. This includes the job of the police and law enforcement institutions.
On Sunday, Daunte Wright became the latest victim of police brutality against a person of color in the United States. The officer, who as of tonight has resigned from her job, claims that she meant to fire her taser and not her gun.
If this was a one off event and it was a honest mistake, the reaction would of course be completely different. But because Mr. Wright is not the first person and will sadly not be the last person of color to be killed by the police, it is just another reminder of how pervasive racism is in this country.
Adding salt to the wound is the location of the shooting. The murder of George Floyd and the trial against his accused killer, Derek Chauvin is not too far from where Daunte Wright took his last breath.
There has to be a line between protecting the public and randomly targeting people of color. That line has to be affirmed by both the public and those who work in law enforcement. When then the line is crossed, those involved should be punished.
The question is, where is the line and what will it take for us to do something about this problem?
On March 13th of this year, Breonna Taylor was an ordinary woman, sleeping in her bed. Then the police barged into her home and she became another icon of racism and police brutality.
The outcome of the trial against the police officers who killed her was announced today. The grand jury in Kentucky declined to charge the officers for her murder.
Once again, the message is clear. Americans of color are unimportant and their lives are disposable. The police can do whatever they want, without fear of the justice system catching up to them. I wish I could say that in 2020, things have changed. But nothing has changed and another life was needlessly lost.
If nothing else, the summer of 2020 will be known for the murders of innocent African-American men and women. It is not a distinction to be proud of. Though this is nothing new for Americans of color, the difference is that the country is waking up and taking notice.
Back in March, Daniel Prude was found naked on the streets of Rochester in upstate New York. As the story usually goes, Mr. Prude was restrained by the police to the point of where he lost consciousness. He died a week later.
But there is more to this story that the standard accusation of police brutality. The issue of mental illness also comes into play. The police were initially called because Joe Prude, Daniel’s brother called 911, worried about his brother who had just walked out of the house.
I wish I could say that this will be the last incident of this kind. But we all know that until we deal with racism as a whole, Mr. Prude will be just another name on a long list of Americans of color killed by police.
Whether we know it or not, we often look to celebrities as examples of how to behave or not behave.
Since May, when George Floyd was murdered, protests have exploded all over the country. Across Hollywood and the sports world, celebrities have stepped up in the name of justice and equality.
With the shooting of Jacob Blake last weekend, America was again reminded that police still single out Americans of color. In response, several NBA teams have chosen to strike. Jared Kusher, sticking his nose in where it did not belong, claimed that they were “taking the night off“.
The full quote is as follows:
“The NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially.”
While it is true that they will still earn their salaries, this strike is not about money. It is about racial inequity and violence that still exists in the United States. These players are using their platform to take a stand and send a message.
Not that Kushner or anyone around him would be able to understand that message.