Step aside 'normal', it's time for change
These last three months of lockdown we’ve been so eager to get back to our normal lives that we were starting to forget just how fucked up normality was to begin with.
Until the video of George Floyd’s murder went viral.
None of us will be able to erase the image of Derek Chauvin kneeling down on George Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes as officers Lane and Kueng held down the rest of his body and officer Thao told passing by viewers to keep moving. And we can’t forget.
Despite the surmounting evidence surrounding this case, it still took two days of civil unrest for Derek Chauvin to be arrested and another seven days for the other three officers to be charged.
That's what normal got us.
The protests have been a cry for justice that unfortunately extends beyond George Floyd's death alone. The protests represent a movement for all the black and brown families that have lost their loved ones to police violence who never got the answers or the justice they deserved.
In 2014, I lost one of my dear friends Alex to police brutality. Alexandre Mozart Nicolas was his name. Alex was the life of the party, a pure ray of sunshine with the voice of an angel. Everyone wanted to be friends with him and he was friends with everyone.
Alex was just 20 years old when he was pulled over by two police officers in the middle of the day in North Miami Beach and died.
I think about Alex's mother, Julie, listening to the medical examiner tell her that her son had drowned trying to escape the police. Then I think about the first time she saw her son at his viewing and the confusion she felt as she discovered the traumatic injuries on Alex's face. Alex was clearly abused while in police custody and the medical examiners omitted that in the autopsy. By the time she tried to look into what had happened, video evidence was suppressed, Alex's case was sealed and, a few years later, one of the two police officers was awarded a medal of bravery.
This is a story that we're way too familiar with in the United States. This is part of our deeply disturbing history and the complete cognitive dissonance between our past.
Amidst a pandemic, people of all ages and races set aside their physical safety and gathered all across the country in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement to express their outrage and battle this ongoing systemic issue of police violence.
The protesters chant "No justice, no peace" as the President tweets "Get tough police!"
It's hard to know what to do but we know that we can no longer stand by and accept this 'normal'. We know that we're not consciously racist but we're also understanding that we are complicit of a powerfully racist system that has been in place for many generations before us.
We know we need serious reform in both our education and our justice system. We know that change is long overdue and now is the time to take action. We have the momentum for a real revolution, let's not waste it once again with "thoughts and prayers".
What can you do?
There's so much you can do, even from the comfort of your own home, to educate yourself and support this movement. As a first step, we wanted to compile a small list of things that you can begin to use as a guide.
If you can, most definitely start by donating to any and all black-run organizations (whether local or international) that are combating racists institutions and police brutality. Donate to local bail fund projects if you can. Research black owned businesses that you can find in your area, show them some love.
A few organizations we support:
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
If you can't contribute financially, contribute with your voice. Sign petitions, vote, talk to your close minded relatives about race, talk to your friends, talk to your community leaders.
Vote. Make sure you are voting capable people into office, people that represent not only your interests but the interests of black communities as well. Do your research about the people who are making legislative changes in your city and your country.
Last but most definitely not least, read and listen.
BOOKS we recommend:
"White Fragility" by Robin DiAngelo
"How to Be an Antiracist" by Ibram X. Kendi
"So You Want to Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo
"A Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry
"The Other Americans" by Laila Lalami
MOVIES we recommend:
LA92 - available on Netflix
The 13th- available on Netflix
Who Killed Malcom X- available on Netflix
Time: the Kalief Browder Story - available on Netflix
Explained: The Racial Wealth Gap- available on Netflix
I'm Not Your Negro - available on YouTube and Amazon Prime Video
Fruitvale Station - available on YouTube and Amazon Prime Video
PODCASTS we recommend:
Pod Save the People
It Could Happen Here
As the road to education is a long one, we will continue to use our platform to spread awareness and post more resources.
If you have any further suggestions, please let us know in the comments below.