• Kristaleagh Walthall

Black Lives Matter

February 23, 2020 - Ahmaud Arbery, a twenty-five year old black man, went for a run in a neighborhood located just outside Glynn County, Georgia. While he was runnning, he was spotted by Gregory and Travis McMichael who then grabbed their shotguns, hopped in their truck, and chased him down while calling the police claiming that Ahmaud was the person who had been responsible for all of the recent break-ins happening in their community (last reported break in, however, in that area was January 1st, 2020). They trapped him in the street, and when he tried to escape, they attacked him, there was a struggle, and then Ahmaud was shot three times in the chest and killed in the middle of the street. Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested on May 7, 2020 and charged with murder and aggravated assault. The man who was filming, William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., was also arrested May 21, 2020 on charges of murder & criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.


March 13, 2020 - Breonna Taylor, a twenty-six year old black EMT, and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker were asleep at home when the Louisville police entered their apartment under a no-knock warrant. The couple woke up and called out, thinking their home had been broken into with no response. The officers were in plain clothing with no body cams leading Walker to believe they were intruders, so he grabbed his gun, which he was registered and licensed to use, and fired one shot as they came into the home as a warning. He was then met with more than twenty two rounds being fired back at him, eight of which went into and killed Breanna. Walker was later arrested for attempted murder of a police officer, but was released later on with dropped charges. There have been no known arrests of any officer involved in the case.


May 25, 2020 - Christian Cooper was in Ramble, a section of Central Park, early in the morning bird watching when he saw a dog not a leash, which is against the rules of the park. He approached and asked Amy Cooper, the owner of the dog, a white liberal woman, to put her dog on a leash. She refused, and he started recording. Amy asks him to stop recording while walking closer to him and Christian asks her to not come close to him. She then threatens to call the police and tell them that "an African American man is threatening her life." She then proceeds to do so, faking hysteria and chocking her dog at the same time. Christian ends the video when Amy leashes her dog. Since then, Amy Cooper has been fired from her job, lost her dog, and may face charges if there is proof that she did indeed call 911.


Also on May 25, 2020 - George Floyd, a forty-six year old black security guard/truck driver, and two friends went to Cup Foods, a grocery/convenience store located in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he purchased a pack of cigarettes with a $20 bill. An employee suspected that it was a fake and called the police who arrived shortly after. Officer Lane made the initial arrest, pulling Floyd out of his vehicle, and putting him in handcuffs. There was an initial struggle from Floyd, but he became compliant after being handcuffed. He was then escorted across the street to a patrol car that was parked in front of Cup Foods. Every source says something different about what happened directly after that, but George Floyd ended up face down in the ground with Officer Derek Chauvin's knee pressed into the back of his neck where it remained for over eight minutes. Bystanders reported, and we can hear in some of the videos, that George Floyd repeatedly said that he couldn't breathe, was pleading for his mother, and asking the policeman to get off of him. Bystanders tried to intervene and can be seen in the videos of either being shoved by a policeman or being threatened with mace. George Floyd was reported to not have a pulse when the ambulance arrived at 8:27pm and was declared dead at the hospital almost an hour later at 9:25pm. Derek Chauvin was arrested four days later and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. The other officers involved have not been arrested at this time, but are currently undergoing investigation.


*Deep breath*


This is a lot to take in, and I personally don't even know how to process all of it. I can't even begin to imagine how the black community is feeling because as a white person, I have never experienced watching someone of my race being murdered for their skin color. George, Ahmaud, and Breonna died for no reason. They should still be alive today, but because racism is still alive and roaring in the world, they are not. There is no other way to put it. The fact that it took over two months for any news about Ahmaud and Breonna to even make it to the media should be infuriating enough, and that it has taken the uproar of what seems like the entire country for any arrests to have been made should be infuriating. The worst part is, these are just examples from the last few months; this isn't even close to the number of cases of black people who are unjustly murdered by cops and white people who hate them because of their skin color. There is no question about it: if they were white, they would still be alive.


This is a hard post for me to write because I am dealing with a lot of emotions right now. On one hand, I want to speak up against injustice and fight for my friends, family, neighbors, and countrymen who are black and dealing with discrimination on an everyday basis. I truly do believe that our country cannot be great until all of us are equal and in the current system, we are not. I am angry and in anguish over these incidents and want to do my part to ensure that no one ever has to go through this ever again. It is my duty as an American citizen to make sure that everyone has the same freedoms, regardless of their skin color.


On the other hand, I know that as a white person, while it is important I speak up, it is also important that I listen. I do not know what it is like to be discriminated against for the color of my skin. I've never been scared of the police finding some bullshit reason to arrest me or take my life. I've never been unable to get a job or a loan or a car because of my skin color. While my life has had struggles, none of them have been because of my skin color. I don't know what they're going through or thinking or the conversations they're having to have with their kids. All I know is that racism is wrong and these situations are unjust and the people responsible for them should be dealing with the consequences.


I don't even really know what to write in the rest of this post my thoughts are so jumbled, but I want to start by saying that this blog and the person behind it do not stand for racism. We will openly and consistently condemn it, and if you don't, then you are not welcome in this community. I don't care if I lose followers; I'd rather have no one read my work than people who justify murders and injustice read it.

I wasn't able to go to the protest in Charlottesville, but I heard and saw that it was peaceful. I had a couple friends who went and a bunch of friends sharing live streams and pictures, some of which I've attached to this blog courtesy of my friend Brianna Wright, and articles about the protest on Facebook. Charlottesville was not the only peaceful protest that happened, but I know that most protests across the country have ended with violence, rioting, and looting. While I'm not thrilled about small businesses being attacked, America has silenced black people for too long so if they need to break a window or two to get people to actually listen, break away. Colin Kaepernick was peaceful and lost his career as a quarterback in the NFL. Martin Luther King was peaceful and he still got shot. Do whatever it takes to be heard.


This rest of this post is actually geared towards white people as that is the experience I am writing from, not to exclude black people and other people of color, but you don't need me to tell you that racism is alive and bad. I am sure that you are already painfully aware of it's existence.


As white people, we need to be better people now than we ever have been. While I'm not saying that all white people are racist, I am saying that we need to do better because there are a lot of white people who are. Speak up against racism. Speak out against the cops and people who murder black people unjustly and push for their arrests when the system fails. Be actively and loudly anti-racism and not silent "not racist" because it's an uncomfortable topic to talk about. We need to be apart of the solution and not the problem.


If you're more concerned with the protests and looting then you are the murder, you're

apart of the problem.

If you're looking at these cases for reasons to justify what happened, you're

apart of the problem.


If you're still claiming oppression for being asked to wear a mask during the pandemic while black people are literally being murdered on the streets, you're apart of the problem.


If you are being silent, you're apart of the problem.


If you're using select quotes from Martin Luther King to discredit protests, you're apart of the problem.


If you say the N word, even if it's just in a song, you're apart of the problem.


If you respond to "Black lives matter" with "All lives matter," you're apart of the problem.


If you're responding to any of these deaths with "Not all cops," "Not all white people," "black people kill black people more," etc., you're apart of the problem.


If you believe that racism doesn't exist because you've had a hard life, you're apart of the problem.


If you have to say "I'm not racist, I have black friends," you're apart of the problem.

If you think that voting in November will solve racism, you're apart of the problem.


If you're afraid to speak against racism because you might lose friends or offend family, you're apart of the problem.


If you "don't see color", you're apart of the problem.


If you think that peaceful protesters being attacked with tear gas and rubber bullets is okay, you're apart of the problem.


If you're offended by this post or anything I've mentioned in the list above, you're probably part of the problem.


If you're looking to be apart of the solution and be an ally, there are many ways to help the Black Lives Matter movement. First, be willing to acknowledge your privilege, put aside your pride, and listen to the black community around you. That is one of many ways we can effective help our country be great because if we are willing to listen, we are willing to learn, which leads to action.


Other things you can do is donate to help protesters who have been arrested, sign petitions, you can donate to help fund George Floyd's funeral, don't wait for your black friends to educate you, do your research and educate yourself, and be willing to be uncomfortable and possibly lose friends or family over standing up for justice and equality for people of all skin colors. Do you really want to associate with someone who justifies this kind of stuff? I sure don't.

To any black or people of color who read my blog, if I missed anything important or said something that is racist or doesn't help the BLM movement, please don't hesitate to reach out. I want to learn and grow and be a better person, but I know that some of the things I have been taught are inherently and unknowingly racist and I want to make sure that I'm promoting the right things. I stand with you and for you.


Take a shot for all of the unjust murders and racial discrimination being faced everyday and toast to the hope that maybe this will lead to some actual change.

Cheers


Kristaleagh


*All pictures are from the Charlottesville "No Justice, No Peace" Protest and were taken and provided by Brianna Wright*

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