This morning I woke up full of despair and feelings of helplessness: two feelings I do not process well. The killing of George Floyd has truly impacted me in a way that so many other killings had failed to arouse me. The just protests have made me want to lock arms with so many other people that feel the pain and anger I am feeling after witnessing the repulsive act of violence against George Floyd. The looting and rioting have made me fear that the just and necessary voices of the protesters will be drowned by the images of fires, break-ins, and mayhem.
What is it about George Floyd's death that makes it so different? How is it different from other senseless killings like the mass murder of children at schools or party goers in Las Vegas? Will these feelings of anger go away as soon as the media spotlight is off? I'm not sure how to respond to these questions but perhaps I've reached a tipping point. Perhaps, I have reached the point where I can no longer be silent and do nothing. But what can I do?
First, I will acknowledge that although I’m a person of color because I’m Hispanic my experience is different from that of blacks because my skin is white. I have felt the fear of being stopped by a cop but I cannot compare it to the fear black folks live with every day.
I will educate myself. I do not want my actions to be based on feelings. I want to learn about what it is to be black in America. Not by reading about it through the biased lens of the media (right or left) but by talking about the issues with black people and really listening to what they have to say. And, I will ask them what can I do to help.
I will take action. I will write. I will post. I will give money to causes that will work to help change the policies and systems that perpetuate impunity for bad cops who commit crimes against people of color. I will no longer be silent in the face of racism even if it costs me some friendships. I will do everything in my power to promote peace, kindness, and understanding among all races. I will let my voice be heard to say loud and clear that injustice against one individual grows into injustice to all.
If you want to learn more about who George Floyd was, check out: