If He "Can't Breathe" Then We Can't Breathe
The events that have led to the recent protests across the country are serving as an awakening to our society. An awakening that has been demonstrated before but with little to no change. While I feel very passionately about the racially charged protests currently happening, I also realize that we are in a complex time with the COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, here are my humble suggestions to peacefully move forward to create a better world.
Self-educate: It is important that individuals begin to understand the oppression of minorities in this country - oppression that is systemically built into our society. Read, study and begin to converse with those you recognize who are taking a stand to be anti-racist.
Honor: I propose that we take a knee on Juneteenth (June 19, 2020) at 10AM PST to peacefully protest to honor George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, Tony McDade and (unfortunately) many others whom lost their lives due to excessive force and racism. I request that, “Old Central Cultural Center” in Galveston, Texas* lead this silent protest, along with Colin Kapaernick. Due to the fact that some states are currently in shelter-and-place and working from home, I ask they we each do this movement to our front yards.
Support: Donate to causes that are actively changing the trajectory of black lives. Here are a few suggestions: Black Visions Collective (blackvisionsmn.org); Brooklyn Bail Fund (brooklynbailfund.org); American Civil Liberties Union (aclu.org).
Change: We are each responsible for ourselves. This is where it is important for us to question privilege. I am mindfully not using the term “white privilege” not because it doesn’t exist (because it absolutely does) but because I feel that there are many layers to one’s privilege that need to be addressed and it is up to each of us individually to expose, understand and change.
It is also important that if you witness injustice (especially as a white individual) that you speak up and begin recording. There is absolutely no reason to ever turn your head. These acts of violence upon others are acts of violence on each of us.
Vote: If you do not like to see the way that this country, your state, or city are being run, then vote to change those in office.
Lastly, I want to bring light to the fact the police departments across the country do not have the appropriate training and education system in place to change the potential racial profiling taught at police academies. This is a significant root of the problem. It is inconceivable that those that are to uphold the law a) do not know the law and b) lack basic skills of compassion. New and sophisticated trainings needs to come in effect to mold police officers into empathetic, understanding and caring individuals for the betterment of the community.
If he “can’t breathe” then we can’t breathe. May this revolution uplift our brothers and sisters to unify our country.
*Union General Gordon Granger led thousands of federal troops to Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War had ended and slaves had been freed on June 19, 1965.