I am at a loss for words. Nothing I say can possibly articulate how angry, helpless, and sad I feel at this moment in time. The images of George Floyd’s murder, the worldwide protests, the brutality, the burning of buildings… Every day the news makes my head spin and my heart ache. Where do we go from here?
This is one of the videos that made me cry today. I am proud of these brave children, putting themselves out there and demanding to be heard regardless of the consequences. And Trump wants to unleash the military on them by invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807?
You’ve probably listened to the private conference call between state governors and The Chief Hypocrite by now. Referring to protesters as “terrorists” and “thugs” comes as no surprise because we are accustomed to 45’s inflammatory rhetoric. Let’s hope that the “Candidate of Chaos,” as he was described during the NPR politics podcast yesterday, is removed from office before the end of this year. What kind of a leader fans the flames at a time when the nation needs healing? Or seizes a photo op in front of a church, posing with the Bible used as a political prop, just minutes after clearing the pathway of peaceful protesters with teargas and flash bangs?
You have everybody on tape, you gotta arrest all those people, you gotta try them. And if they get five years or ten years, they have to get five years or ten years. There’s no retribution. So I say that and the word is dominate. If you don’t dominate your city and your state, they’re gonna walk away with you. And we’re doing it in Washington, in DC, we’re going to do something that people haven’t seen before. But we’re going to have total domination.Donald Trump- See transcript of call with governors
Words spoken like a true dictator.
Cincinnati (my hometown) is among over 100 cities holding protests. A list of demands have been presented to officials including a “call for Ray Tensing, the former University of Cincinnati Police officer who killed Sam DuBose in 2015, to be brought to justice by local and federal officials.” See the full local news report here.
It is surreal to be in Ireland while watching protesters congregating where I literally grew up. The apartment I lived in on McMillan St. has been demolished, but the gas station beside it is still operating. I recognized the parking lot in the video footage because I played there as a child. Clifton was my neighborhood until I was nearly 11 years old. Over the weekend it looked like a war zone.
The curfew in Cincinnati continues today. It starts at 8PM (EST) and ends Wednesday morning. It has been in effect since Saturday. So far no one I know has been arrested.
Despite the pandemic and continued lockdown restrictions in Ireland, between 2000-4000 protesters also flooded the streets of Dublin yesterday to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Organizers are being investigated and risk prosecution because of breached Covid19 rules.
My social media has blown up with people commenting about what’s happening. Most are supportive and share my distress about the injustice of systemic racism in the USA. Others, however, are locked in their narrow mindsets. Unfortunately I am related to people who still say things like “All Lives Matter,” while clinging to their white privilege without ever acknowledging its existence. (If you’re questioning why that phrase is offensive, read this explanation here). It makes me want to repeatedly bang my head on a wall trying to get through to my relatives. Or sever ties with them once and for all to preserve my sanity. My partner is losing “friends” because he is calling them out on Facebook for similar bullshit. I’m not just talking about Trump supporters either- some of the liberals are equally misguided. Look at Karen.
“White violence transcends party lines and political ideology.” –Nylah Burton
Please read this powerful piece A Letter to Friends Who Really Want to End Racism by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson). She asks important questions about the interactions between Christian Cooper and Amy Cooper. Read it, share it, talk about it.
Trevor Noah, of the Daily Show, saw that incident as a catalyst, and I think he’s right.
While Trevor Noah empathizes and makes a case to rationalize the frustration of angry looters, former President Barack Obama says otherwise.
So let’s not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it. If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves.Barack Obama
He’s right of course. But part of me wants to set the whole world on fire so we can start again. Burn it down so we can build it back up.
Since arson isn’t really a long term solution, I hope American citizens will take the former president’s advice:
So the bottom line is this: if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.
I’m ready to cast my ballot. Are you?
Feature Photo Credit: Rochelle Brown