The events of this past week have separated those who are fine with what is happening in our country and those of us who are not. They have proven that the divide in our country continues to grow out of control. They have taught us the meanings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They have shed light on a horrific situation that is as old as the Constitution that governs our land and even older than the religious figures we go to for answers when we are scared for the future.
I will start off by saying the death of George Floyd is a national travesty. The video that was released in earlier last week of a Minneapolis Police Officer, Ofc. Derek Chauvin, kneeling on a black man’s (Floyd) neck for 8 or 9 minutes was sickening to watch. The Officer remained on the man’s neck even after Floyd screamed he couldn’t breathe and that he wanted his mother. The Officer didn’t budge after Floyd lay there on the ground unconscious and unresponsive for several minutes BEFORE those 8 or 9 minutes were up. Also, it is reported that Chauvin had SEVEN (7) write ups before this incident. To top it all off, 3 other officers were on the scene attempting to apprehend Floyd for forgery and did nothing to restrain their fellow officer as he did the unthinkable, the unimaginable.
While that death and the death of many other black men and women at the hands of our nation’s law enforcement officers have caused great turmoil and grief, none have caused greater damage to communities across the US than this one. The death of Floyd sent shock waves like none other across both large and small communities, both rich and poor, and of all races. I’m not going to act like I know what these people are feeling because I don’t. I’ve read the history and have seen the videos, and I think we are pretty fortunate that we have come this far in a short period of time. But we have a lot farther to go before we get where we need to be.
We as a nation of people from a vast array of backgrounds not only have the luxury afforded to us by the Constitution to practice constructive advocacy by speaking our minds, engaging in constructive discourse, and advancing a beneficial change for the greater good of our society, but we are also obligated as citizens to ensure that this change does occur. We cannot sit idly by and watch us repeat history over and over again. And we accomplish these things by advocating for change to both our elected leaders and peers. But we also voice them by voting and signing petitions. One single vote or signature might not seem like much. However, it’s a lot bigger than you might think. That vote or signature can lead to lifetime of change. We have seen it time and time again in our short history. And it doesn’t have to stop with us.
The Time for Change starts now. And it starts with you and I. Every single second I am on social media, I cannot scroll far enough down to not see a video of a city being destroyed or lives being forever ruined. I see videos of hurt, anger, frustration, and grief. I see acts of violence, arson, and separation.
But I also see acts of kindness and friendship. I see people of different backgrounds helping clean their communities and lending hands to help those who cannot help themselves. I see peace between strangers and those brought together by these unfortunate circumstances. And that is why I believe our best times are ahead of us.
We have already been through so much together. COVID-19 literally has turned our world upside down in a few short months. Some of us cannot see family or friends due to restrictions and the severity of the virus. Some of us are forced to go without certain supplies due to high demand and lack of production. All of us are forced to go about our daily lives in an unprecedented way. This pandemic alone brought myself closer to people and ideas that I took for granted before all of this went down. I gained an appreciation for the small things in life, but most of all, I went back and reminded myself the power of acceptance. That is where we change all of this.
We must first understand our differences, set them aside, and accept each other for who we are. We cannot all think alike or act alike. But we can act with respect. There are so many other amazing qualities to a person besides what they look like or what they believe in. How they treat people, how hard they work at their job or school, how they treat themselves, etc. will paint a picture of who that person is.
Lastly, the sadness that comes along with the violence that is currently taking place will only increase the divide we are currently living in as well as the resentment to accept and move forward. The more violent, anarchic, and irrational we become, the farther away we move from the cause. We do not condone unlawful killings of innocent people, acts of unjustified violence, and the destruction of property where people live, work, and provide for future generations of America. We have been fighting the same fight for centuries now. We must band together to demand change. I have provided resources below where you can let your voices be heard.