On May 25, 2020 , a Black man named George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in the streets of Minneapolis, MN. The police officer pressed his knee against George’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds as his fellow officers watched…as civilians screamed and recorded… and as George Floyd begged for his life.
Since witnessing the people we employ to protect us , murder one of us in broad daylight in front of police and cameras and witnesses, the country has exploded in anger, and frustration. Protests have taken place in every state in our union, and some of them have turned violent and become, “riots”.
We’ve seen corporations and small businesses alike set on fire. We’ve seen peaceful protestors attacked by police officers. We’ve seen officers attacked by people. Windows broken, buildings defaced, stores looted and more.
As we Americans go through these hard times, I think it can be easy to get distracted and lose focus. I can admit when I saw the beginning of the fires and looting, I became upset. I wasn’t upset about Target being ransacked; they have insurance and I don’t care about the bones of a building more than I care about the bones of my people. However, I wondered what this would mean for the community around it. What would be the bigger outcome? Do they have other stores in the area? Might this be one of their important resources? I didn’t know. So it made me uncomfortable.
I’ve seen more going ons that have made me uncomfortable. Who wouldn’t feel a little uneasy watching things burn? I feel afraid for the safety of the people more than anything else.But the safety of the people is clearly already an issue. Perhaps if we as a nation had been louder in calling out the systematic acts of violence black people face every day in this country, we would not be on fire now.
So before anyone turns their backs on the protests and the people who have put their bodies on the line in this fight to be heard in a historically deaf nation, I’d ask you to find an alternative response.
I’ve seen a lot of refusals to listen to the grievances, because people are upset with the delivery. But there is no magic delivery.They don’t want to hear it in a riot, they don’t want to hear it on a football field, and contrary to popular belief, they didn’t want to hear it from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. either.
So now is the time to either listen, regardless of the delivery; or to admit you aren’t interested in hearing.
There are alternatives to literal fire, but none of them are passive. We must be active and aggressive in our approach no matter what it is.
Ways To Help
- Donate money to help bail out protestors who have been arrested
- George Floyd’’s family’s official GoFundMe page
- “National Bail Out is a Black-led and Black-centered collective of abolitionist organizers, lawyers and activists building a community-based movement to support our folks and end systems of pretrial detention and ultimately mass incarceration. “
- A master list by BLM with multiple ways to help.
Lift up the voices of Black people and the work of Black Creators.
Link to the Medium Article version of this: https://medium.com/@kelligreen8495/your-aversion-to-fire-is-not-an-excuse-to-sit-out-13c239c58a9a