Say Their Names

It’s with a heavy heart that I write the following words. There has been a major and long overdue outcry these past three weeks over oppression against Black lives in America. It took another Black life, George Floyd’s life to be exact, for us to reach this breaking point. 624ed6c8-34fd-4d6c-89e5-08a86772d360It seemed that every week there was one headline after another, of a Black person being killed or threatened by racist remarks. The onset began with Ahmaud Arbery, the unarmed jogger that was horrifically killed by two White Supremacist. Not long after came the tragic murder by police of Breonna Taylor, an unarmed Black woman killed in her own home.

Then two disgusting events happened almost simultaneously, the murder of Geroge Floyd by police, and the threat made against Christian Cooper, a Black editor, by Amy Cooper, a White racist woman, in Central Park.2cde02c0-9468-41dd-ab09-2bdf764267a0All of these events combined, were the makeup that pushed us over the edge. We were no longer going to accept watching the death of another Black man online. George Floyd would not just become a hashtag, he would be the name that would be shouted all across the country, and even in countries on the other side of the world. Enough is enough.89259083-6024-48d9-bed6-c10158126a3bSince the inception of the United States, BIPOC have always been and continue to be oppressed. At this point, if you disagree and truly believe that the previous statement is a myth, you have been living in a world of privilege, where you can choose to live in your bubble and avoid the injustices that are happening right outside of your window.067188ce-0885-4de8-a52d-b907c036edb0Everything from colonization, segregation, police brutality, red lining, mass incarceration, food apartheid, education disparity, etc, continues to contribute to systemic oppression. And no, it’s not a choice to live a life of an oppressed citizen, all of the injustices above have to do with how America was intentionally created to benefit White people.

The men who wrote the constitution didn’t think twice of how we could benefit from the system. You may hate to hear that, and are ready to comment things about “affirmative action, Black on Black crime, the Boot strap theory, how more Whites are harmed by police, how “all lives matter” but you are choosing to not acknowledge the Black experience and how they as citizens do not get treated equally or have the opportunity to gain generational wealth.fa394c03-4930-4af9-9091-e4d71687b646-1The last few weeks social media has been a powerful tool. Honestly, if it weren’t for any of those murders going viral, I doubt that any of these protests would be happening. Social media, in my case – Instagram, has been my primary source of gathering an abundance of resources that help guide me in becoming an ally for Black lives. Everything from protest information, petitions, numbers and emails of government officials to contact, policies, laws, books to read, you name it, is being shared by organizations and activists. Not to mention, re-posted by the thousands.c484574a-386d-4ea5-9990-f07bd846d36dIt took a pandemic, stay at home orders, no sports, no concerts, no gatherings, for these deep wounds to open once again. COVID-19 in itself is a culprit for killing residents of undeserved communities, specifically Black and Brown folks. 50f3bfd8-fff5-4af1-a5db-843df8655714We have reached a point in this country where everything is political, something as devastating as COVID-19, has become polarized. I don’t have the energy to write about #45 and his base. I was going to make a whole Coronavirus blog but this movement took precedence over it. I will mention though, most of us protesting are wearing masks, very different from those protesting “stay at home orders” so they can get their haircuts.498bf4d2-9899-41ce-9ede-50853cceda3cBlack Lives Matter, isn’t political, it’s a human rights issue. In a matter of a week, even more lives were taken by police, Rayshard Brooks and Sean Monterrosa, just to name a couple. May they rest in peace. It’s extremely evident what the problem is, it’s the corrupt system and the police. The police are so quick to pull the trigger on Black and Brown folks. Why, why was George Floyd killed that way? There was no reason. The man was on the ground, handcuffed, couldn’t breathe, what threat did he pose? And Rayshard Brooks, before things escalated he was respectful and willing to walk to his sisters home. But no, the police chose to kill these men.

There were a thousand different ways that the police could have handled these situations but they chose to kill unarmed men. What’s even more frustrating is the number of people questioning the character of these men. The fact is, police claim to be “trained” in deescalating situations, but they seem to only do that with non Black and Brown folks. c0834c30-23cd-452d-bc40-86f67bf19ef9I can’t tell you the number of sickening comments left by non Black folks that I continue to see online. Justifying “all lives matter” with their experience. Claiming that Whites also get mistreated and are discriminated against. Right now is not the time to justify or compare what you think is worse. Black Lives Matter is not saying your life doesn’t matter. It’s saying that before someone states “all lives matter” there has to be an acknowledgment that Black lives are being targeted, especially by police, and treated like their life doesn’t matter.

If you read up on some of these mass shootings done by young White men, many of them are handcuffed and brought back alive. One can’t deny that it’s unjust that White Supremacist and mass murderer, Dylan Roof, is alive but George Floyd who was accused of using a 20 counterfeit isn’t. So no, all lives don’t matter until Black lives matter. 4b93714b-4bc6-450d-a156-1445f9c23dbbProtesting is the only way these injustices will be brought to light. Kaepernick peacfully kneeling didn’t work for, neither did holding seminars, the countless series, books, tweeting, none of it was “fine” with the majority, so please tell me, what will get people to listen to us and truly accept what is still happening in our country? And no, not all protesters are looters, nor rioters, nor Antifa members. We simply stand for Black Lives and the movement and need you to see us. 426b7845-6e5b-46a1-a5ff-20c3259ed140It’s bothersome that many are outraged over Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem but not outraged over an officer kneeling on a Black mans neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Please don’t forget that many Black and Brown folks have always fought for this country, a country that didn’t give them any rights, and yet once they came back from war, they were still discriminated against. So you can’t possibly be that patriotic and for “all lives”, when you know deep down that not all lives are treated like they matter in America.352370c5-6b59-4d5f-a8a4-6e457f51d689So those are some of my thoughts. I’m angry, saddened, inspired, and fighting for change. It all starts at home, teaching your children to be loving towards all humans. Have those uncomfortable conversations with your family and friends. Do your research and realize that not all immigrant experiences are the same. Acknowledge your White privilege, dig deep down and ask yourself why people hate. Change starts from within. I truly hope we’re all reflecting on what part we can play in creating this mass change in order to dismantle the system.2e4f9419-a023-4153-89a7-6a146a77285bNo man should ever have to cry out to his mother while under the knee of an oppressor. Use these next months to research who your elected officials are in your city. Read up on bills and policies that support under served communities. If we are willing and able, why not take a stand against systemic oppression. Voting is a privilege, that many people were once denied, we must go out and vote. Let’s amplify those voices that are never heard. Lets fight the good fight.2b84f052-4a58-4432-b1d5-72ca6daf29beThese photos were taken from the protest I attended in my hometown of Modesto, California on May 31, 2020.

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