Written by: Nia Satterfield Brown
Before I start I want to get a couple of things straight. One: you cannot pick and choose what you love about black culture. Two: just because you have black friends, that doesn’t mean you are not racist. Three: Do not just value black culture such as music, art, sports and fashion when it’s advantageous to you.
It seems that almost overnight, New York City has turned from a relatively quiet ghost town to a lively, awe-inspiring, and liberating place. Being the epicenter of the coronavirus, the city and its residents have been under lockdown for more than two months. Despite virus fears, tens of thousands of protestors have come together to protest the police brutality that has taken our nation by storm. Namely, the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, Tony McDade among others who have fallen victim to the police violence that plagues our nation. The cry for justice is not only being heard in America, but around the world. And it is more powerful than ever.
In NYC there have been protests in all 5 boroughs. There has also been looting and rioting. I support these demonstrations. Though I do not believe looting is effective, it is hypocritical for white Americans to say that we shouldn’t be looting especially since white people plundered Africa for hundreds of years. We will not be silent. Black people have been targeted, discriminated against and killed for too long. From microaggressions to violent killings, we are tired of being tired. Tired of seeing the names of our brothers and sisters turned into hashtags. Tired of seeing black screens. Tired of seeing white people claim to be allies when they’re really just complicit. Black is beautiful. Black is worth it. Black lives DO matter.
In my hometown of NYC, I’ve seen officers take vicious steps to suppress the cries of protestors. About two weeks ago, a little girl had tear gas sprayed into her eyes. Last week, not one but two police cars rammed into a group of protestors. And those who violated curfew? Some two thousand protestors were trapped on the Manhattan bridge with the NYPD waiting for them on either end of the bridge. It was not until hours later that these protestors were allowed to vacate the area. It’s clear that the NYPD doesn’t care about protecting its citizens anymore. Did they ever care? The NYPD has a lengthy history of violence towards minorities. It was only six years ago that Eric Garner was put in a chokehold on suspicion of selling single cigarettes from packs that didn’t have tax stamps. There is a clear problem.
The police brutality and racism that walks the streets of the city is scary. I wake up each day wondering if I’ll make it home. We can’t go to the store. We can’t sleep. We can’t play loud music. We can’t be in our own homes. We can’t hold a cellphone. We can’t have a hoodie on. We can’t hold a toy gun. It’s horrifying.
The protests are a product of frustration over the failure of our leaders to prioritize criminal justice reform. How many more lives does it take for people to see that what’s happening to black people is cruel, disgusting and vicious.
Law and Order is insignificant right now. Black lives are what matter because we deserve equality, we deserve justice and we deserve peace. Our basic rights as human beings should not be dependent on how light or dark our skin tone is. Societal change is crucial and the evil of racism needs to be addressed. We cannot wait for the next person to be killed. It’s damaging seeing people who look like me constantly falling victim to the cruelty of the police.
The color of a person’s skin should not impact their right to equality or justice.
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