Reading and Writing Our Way Forward
America has long advertised its commitment to freedom and liberty. We call this place the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” We should certainly be proud of our history of welcoming immigrants and freedom of expression. But as the country erupts with riots over police brutality and stories from many deprived of liberty, we should take a second to ask ourselves some questions. Who gets this freedom? What justifies taking it away? Some have the freedom to breathe, and others of us have to hold our breaths. We are seen as the enemy. Many of us live in fear of those sworn in to protect and serve. Cops are no longer seen as heroes but as threats to those of us who many seem suspicious for something like a hoodie. There's something deeply wrong with this.
With the heartless murder of George Floyd, history once again repeats itself, and the anger bursts into riots. This has been a civil war between the country and racists people. And those in power are failing to act. We should recall Dr. King, Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X and their contributions to antiracism in these moments. No doubt, our country would not exist without the contributions of African-Americans and no matter which way you look at, they deserve better than what our society is giving them.
The death of George Floyd angers me. Of course, not all cops are bad, but recent incidents are calling into question how police activities are routinely carried out. This is not the first case of its kind. What angers me the most is knowing that there’s nothing George could have done to prevent his death. I saw the video from different angles, and those three cops were on him like they meant to do some harm that day. I’m disgusted. The people who are taking to the streets are fed up, and they want change now. They are protesting a system that has failed them time and time again. People like me are seen as disposable. For us, this is not the “land of the free and home of the brave.” No matter how hard we work, what accomplishments we reach, we face the same old systems of prejudice. The media is reporting one-sided stories that seek to tear us apart.
Let me say that the only responsible thing to do right now is fight for justice and fairness. We need to stand up for what’s right and demand justice for those who’ve died at the hands of police. But, most importantly, we need to bring about some peace. We can accomplish change without having any more blood on our streets. We all bleed the same color, and every death is a death too many. People my age will have to find ways to protest and express their anger, but in ways that actually lead to long term change. I imagine that the satisfaction of lighting up buildings and precincts is immediate and short-lived. We need to spark a change that lasts through the night and leaves room for a brighter tomorrow.