Updated: Jun 3, 2020
Dr. Sharon H. Porter
Photo courtesy of Nikki Hubbard Clifton
In the past week across the U.S. and in fact around the globe, we have experienced yet another instance of police brutality, another killing of an unarmed black man.
George Floyd was accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill....A $20 bill... Cup Foods Convenience Store owner, Mahoud Abumayyaleh, the store where Floyd allegedly passed a fake $20 bill, now says that he wishes the phone call to police was never made in an exclusive interview with TheGrio.
Unfortunately, what we have recently experienced is not new. Our country has a deep history of this behavior...long before Rodney King. Recently, Breonna Taylor, a first responder in Kentucky, was shot in her own bed while sleeping; Freddie Grey died while in police custody in Baltimore, just five years ago. Ahmaud Arbery, was shot and killed while jogging near Brunswick, Georgia. Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Trayon Martin, Sandra Bland, and the list goes on and on...
According to Mapping Police Violence, police killed at least 104 unarmed black people in 2015, 1 in 3 black people killed by police in 2015 were identified as unarmed, 36 percent of unarmed people killed by police were black despite black people making up only 13 percent of the nation's population. Five years later, things have not changed.
Photo Credit: Wayland Student Press
I think about the controversy of Colin Kaepernick's decision to kneel to symbolize his own silent protest of police brutality and the injustice of African Americans during the 2016 NFL pre-season. Kaepernick was saying then, Enough Is Enough! Somehow, his message wasn't felt as it should have been in 2016. We feel it now.
In a 2019 Report, The New Era of Pubic Safety, commissioned by The Education Fund, five suggestions were shared as to how we can make change in our communities, in our cities, in our states, and in this country.
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Out of the five suggestions, SPEAK OUT, resonated with me the most, not sure why. I began looking through social media; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, to see who was actually speaking out on this injustice. I was not surprised that what I found on my timeline/feed were people who looked liked me speaking out. I did run across a female Caucasian high school classmate's post that stopped me for a moment. I reached out to her and asked if I could use her post in an upcoming interview I was having on the subject of police brutality and racial profiling. She graciously agreed.
Facebook post used with permission
This post said to me that perhaps people who are not black may not always know exactly what to say or do. I say, you need to say and do what you feel. SPEAK OUT. She ended her post with "I have hope that we can all do better". We can, but it will take us ALL to SPEAK OUT against this injustice. I get it, she wanted to make sure that the African Americans that were speaking, hurting, and grieving were heard. She listened, she spoke out!
I CAN'T BREATHE...AGAIN
If you haven't viewed Nick Cannon's video I Can't Breathe...Again. It is a MUST. (Age restricted based on language). "You've been on our necks for centuries...knees or trees either way you're still lynching me..." "We made America Great INITIALLY..."
This entire video from beginning to end is filled with true, raw emotion. I applaud Nick Cannon and all of those with platforms who are speaking out on the continued mistreatment of Black Americans. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
PROTESTS AND LOOTING
The killing of George Floyd has sparked protests around the world. Unfortunately, looters are taking advantage of the situation, but please understand that protesters are protesting and looters are looting, they are not necessarily the same. My hope is the looting does not overshadow the purpose of the protest.
Black people are hurting. All people should be hurting at the dehumanizing of not just George Floyd, but the countless others who have died for frivolous reasons...Skittles, jogging, a counterfeit $20 bill.
JUSTICE FOR GEORGE FLOYD
I am in the Washington, DC area and protesters have taking to the street of our nation's capital as well. Donald Trump stated that “vicious dogs” and "ominous weapons" would meet protesters who crossed the security line at the White House. This reference brings to mind images from the civil rights movement when marchers faced police dogs and fire hoses. Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington DC responded to Trump saying that “while he hides behind his fence afraid and alone, I stand with people peacefully exercising their First Amendment Right after the murder of #GeorgeFloyd and hundreds of years of institutional racism.”
One of the officers has been arrested. Will all involved be arrested? We shall see. Silence is an indication of support or at least alignment, in my opinion.
I need to thank all law enforcement personnel that upholds your duty to protect and serve. This must be said. There are decent officers that risk their lives each and every day for us.
Photo courtesy of Nikki Hubbard Clifton
I end with the sincere desire to make a difference, to spark a discussion that is grounded in viable solutions. This is for people all across this nation, but specifically for the little black girls and little black boys that are growing up perhaps thinking, the color of their skin is a sin. It is not. #BlackLivesMatters is not just a hashtag. It is a mindset shift that needs to take place in these United States. The reason it must be said is if ALL lives truly mattered, we would not be in the middle of worldwide protests for the killing of an unarmed, handcuffed black man.
Photo Credit: YWCA New York
Dr. Sharon H. Porter is an educator, author, book publisher, and host of The I Am Dr. Sharon Show.
She is Editor-In-Chief, Co-Founder, and Owner of Vision and Purpose LifeStyle Magazine.
She is the wife, the aunt, the sister, the niece, and cousin of black men.