CULTURE, FEATURE STORY

Final Thoughts: On Speaking Out

The last few days have been hard. I’ve been reading news articles, op-eds, blog posts, and social media posts about the tragic death of George Floyd and how others are feeling right now. Many people are hurting and are devastated because of his death. I can’t even begin to imagine what his family, friends, and loved ones must be feeling. It’s beyond heartbreaking.

I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around what happened to Mr. Floyd and sort through my own thoughts and feelings. I wanted to take some time to gather my thoughts and write a piece about this tragedy and also the tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. But I’ve been having a hard time putting my thoughts into writing. I just feel numb and speechless right now. I can’t stop seeing in my mind the image of the police officer’s knee on George Floyd’s neck. 

So forgive me if my words seem jumbled. A friend of mine who is passionate about activism, shared on Instagram, “As creatives, we can use our art, our voices, to manifest + sustain change. Don’t turn away from what’s happening.” Her words inspired me to share what’s been on my mind, even if right now it may not flow the way I would like. 

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Actress and writer Quinta Brunson’s tweet really resonated with me: 

“Being black is having a good day and then seeing another black person was killed for no reason. Then you have to think about/talk about that all day. Or don’t and numb yourself. It’s a constant emotional war.”

I learned of George Floyd’s passing from several tweets posted on Twitter. When I first saw his photo and the hashtag #GeorgeFloyd, I first thought it was to pay respect on the anniversary of someone’s death. But as I continued to scroll through my timeline, I quickly realized this was not the case. Someone else had lost their life to police violence. 

My heart sank as I read headline after headline and then saw the horrific photograph of Mr. Floyd pinned to the ground with the police officer’s knee pressing down on his neck. Later, I saw a video clip from a different angle revealing there were two other police officers who were also holding Mr. Floyd down while the other officer had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck. 

I was appalled, disgusted, and heartbroken. I shook my head and said to myself, “Not again.”

Not another life lost. Not in this way. Not another hashtag. Not another injustice. Not more families and friends who lost a loved one. Not a community (the entire country!) demanding once again for change and recognition of broken, racist ideologies, policies, and systems. 

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I liked this tweet writer Clint Smith shared earlier today:

“Tired of people asking what’s in their hearts and not asking what’s in their policies.” 

It feels as if this is becoming a normal occurrence in our country. Yet, this should not be normal AT ALL. As former President Barack Obama said today in his official statement on George Floyd’s death, this shouldn’t be “normal” in 2020 America. 

He went on to say, “It can’t be ‘normal’. If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better.”

I’m working on a collaboration with a friend who will share a piece on Good Life Detroit about the recent tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor and why it’s important we use our voices to speak out. 

#SAYHERNAME #SAYHISNAME

Final Thoughts: On Speaking Out
From L to R: Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd

In the meantime, here are a few organizations I have where we can take action.

DONATE OR JOIN:

Official George Floyd Memorial Fund

NAACP (and join their #WeAreDoneDying campaign) 

Black Lives Matter

The Minnesota Freedom Fund

Justice for Ahmaud

Justice for Breonna 

ACLU

National Urban League

Southern Poverty Law Center

If you have another organization you recommend, please share them with me! 

“Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.”

— Thurgood Marshall

I pray you have a peaceful weekend. Take care of yourselves. Peace and Love.

xoxo


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Feature image courtesy of Josh Hild.

What are your thoughts?