This Human Rights Crisis Echoes the Pain of Unrest Black People Have Felt in Their Hearts Calling for a More Just and Equitable Society

Believe it or not. Research shows white people have a strong unconscious bias for seeing black people as criminals. Today Americans have experienced an intense disruption of our lives because of coronavirus. Now black people all across the U.S. are mourning over the brutal murder of an unarmed black man named George Floyd.

After George Floyd’s murder, it didn’t take long for civil unrest to spread across the nation. In these moments, the truth behind the disparities between black and white people is hard to ignore. Racial justice need not be an elusive dream we wished we had, but it should be a right — a human right for black people to feel safe in our skin and our own country.

Tony L. Clark holds a photo of George Floyd outside the Cup Food convenience store, near where Floyd was killed, May 28, 2020, in Minneapolis. (Image: Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via AP)

Many people came together soon after George Floyd’s murder and held peaceful protests in dozens of cities in the U.S., while violent looters wrecked several communities elsewhere. The young and old peaceable protesters are experiencing increased police aggression in droves right now only because they’ve taken a stand against racial injustice.

Can you imagine, the police arrested peaceable people during these mass demonstrations. We’ll explore what fueled this state of unrest in America, offer glimmers of hope, and let you know how you can get involved right now.

Image: Peaceful Demonstrators pray in honor of George Flyod  May 31 in Atlanta. Mike Stewart/AP

What triggered the ‘human rights are black rights’ debate?

The egregious murder of Trayvon Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman by gunshot, combined with George Zimmerman being acquitted for his crime, fueled a movement. A movement formed to expose and oppose the racial and oppressive injustices black people face daily.

Although this movement seems to skew on the side of civil rights alone, the truth is, the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has a greater mission to bridge the gap many people have who see black people as less than — human

Deaths of black bodies at the hands of the police inspired people to come together in solidarity and unity towards pushing back at these oppressive forces. This movement towards a more just and fair society recognizes we need to treat black people with respect and at a basic level — as human beings. Because you know, their lives matter too. 

The pleas of black social justice movements like Black Lives Matter have sparked hope for many in the U.S. and have had much influence in our culture, but there’s still more work to do. Should black people continue on feeling unsafe in the so-called ‘land of the free’?

How has the death of George Floyd affected America?

Outrage set the tone as the news revealed. Police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, murdered George Floyd, an unarmed black man on May 26, 2020. It was later disclosed he died from oxygen deprivation, while a previous autopsy showed he suffered from a heart attack. For what it’s worth, the police murdered George Floyd for a nonviolent offense.

Photo: Kerem Yucel / AFP Via Getty Images

Why was he killed? George Floyd allegedly attempted to use a fraudulent $20 bill in a local grocery store. Raw video footage showed Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis, Minnesota policeman pinning down George Floyd with his knee pressed against his neck until he was loaded up on a stretcher by the paramedics and pronounced dead at the scene. 

We are fortunate to have footage of what took place during this dreadful day, so the three other policemen complicit in George Floyd’s murder would get the justice they deserve too. After George Floyd’s death, people across the U.S. organized following this tragic event. 

What’s more, we were still mourning the unjust deaths of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arberry, which preceded George Floyd’s murder. This unimaginable pattern of inequity and a total disregard for black lives in the U.S. is a humanitarian crisis.

At the moment, at least 140 cities have held protests after George Floyd’s death, and dozens of cities have imposed strict curfews. Some protests have turned violent, and the National Guard has stepped in to quench the fire. What else do we see on the ground?

The riots. The protesting. The looting.

“Everything is in the dark, and now it’s coming to the light,” said Neeno Sky, Minneapolis vigil attendee on June 1 to CBS correspondent James Yuccas. 

Terrance Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, broke his silence at the vigil as well and said, “Let’s stop thinking that our voice don’t matter and vote,” he said to the crowd. “And that’s how we’re going to hit them because it’s more — it’s a lot of us. It’s a lot of us. It’s a lot of us.” 

Many will hear our voices as we don’t get discouraged by the many injustices around us and persevere in our trials. What else happened on June 1? Trump stated he would send out the military to control the massive crowds of protestors evoking the Insurrection Act. 

However, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) suggested we should not use military force, but “governors, mayors, and police chiefs should listen to protesters — and ignore the president.” Meanwhile, peaceful protesters across the nation were tear-gassed as police tried to clear out the crowds

Police begin to clear demonstrators gathered as they protest the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

However, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) suggested we should not use military force, but “governors, mayors, and police chiefs should listen to protesters — and ignore the president.” Meanwhile, peaceful protesters across the nation were tear-gassed as police tried to clear out the crowds

Despite the unpopularity of Trump’s decision, when state and local laws break down, the president may have a right to order federal troops to intervene. Here’s the latest news about the massive rally that occurred in George Floyd’s hometown.

On June 2, the Floyd family joined over 60,000 people in George Floyd’s hometown of Houston in a peaceful rally, although some police used flash-bang devices to disperse some people in the crowds.

Where do we go from here?

These grave injustices have plagued black people for far too long. Enough is enough. These recent events highlight the long-standing disparities between black and white folks. Black people should feel safe and free to exist without fear of being hunted down like an animal. 

We need to remain encouraged to get our voices and opinions heard through nonviolent protests and rallies. How else can you get involved in this literal fight for our lives, the lives of our loved ones, and our community-at-large? 

You can join Black-led organizing efforts like the George Floyd Memorial Fund, protest with your local Black Lives Matter chapter, and stay informed and speak up about systemic racism online and offline

Remember, we have a voice. In which case, we can use it boldly until America hears us, and we finally see the change we want to see.