Year 2020 has been one for the books in American life. We are halfway through the year and the world has not been free of tragedy, death or sorrow. From the tragic the death of basketball great Kobe Bryant to the Corona Virus Pandemic, which claimed over 400,000 lives and now the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd—year 2020 has not lived up to our expectations and focus. The killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have sparked worldwide outrage and protest throughout the world. Screams of “no justice, no peace” and “hands up, don’t shoot” are happening throughout the world. But with the latest police killing of an unarmed Black man, is enough really enough? Will there really be change in America in regards to Black life?
George Floyd, 46-year-old father of 5, died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin suffocated him to death by placing his knee on Floyd’s neck. Unlike the killings of Eric Garner, Sean Bell and Philando Castile, Floyd’s murder occured during the Corona Virus pandemic–a time of high unemployment, sorrow, fear and death thoroughout America. His muder was not only hurtful to black America, it was hurtful to America as a whole country. People of all races and ethnicities have come out to protest the killings and abuse of power by law enforcement in respects to black life. The biggest celebrities have spoken out and marched in solidarity with Floyd. The likes of Jamie Foxx, Tyrese, Ludacris, and Tiffany Haddish attended Floyd’s memorial service. Michael Jordan and Brand Jordan have pledged 100 million dollar over 10 years, to combat racial injustice; while Leonardo DiCaprio posted on Twitter “I commit to listen, learn, and take action. I am dedicated to end the disenfranchisement of Black America.” and has made donations to Black organization like the NAACP and Color of Change.
In Floyd’s eulogy, the Reverend Al Sharpton states, “this is the beginning of the fight, not the end of the fight”. The four officers have been fired, arrested, and charged with murder, however, there has not been changes made to the Minneapolis Police Department, the officers have yet to be put on trial and there hasn’t been a sentence handed down. And, as mentioned in the opening paragraph, Floyd’s death is 1 of 2 police killings that have been reported in the mainstream media; the officers in the killing of Breonna Taylor have yet to be arrested or charged. Taylor was killed March 13, 2020 is Louisville, Kentucky. There’s also a number of police related killings throughout the United States where justice has yet to be served or even acknowledge.
For years, Americans have called for an end to police brutality and killings against innocent Black men and women. But there seems to be stronger efforts being made to combat the masters of systemtic racism and injustice against black people in America this year. There appears to be space for conversation as oppose to years prior when government officials had more control of media, while the average joe could only express his grievances to his inner circle of friends and family. The voice of the people through social media is more powerful than ever before. And the rise of cancel culture puts many people of power and influence on the hot seat and a failure to act righteously could make one the butt of every meme or tweet online for days, if not weeks.
I am confident and will be active in pushing for reform and change. I believe it’s the right time and there is a strong need for change. However, I don’t believe it will happen overnight or without aggressive push back from those who benefit from black outrage, police injustice and those who are outright racist. The only way it will succeed is with long term efforts to change the system and remove the people who benefit from the death of black people in America.