Today, the eve of May 25, we encourage everyone to reflect and plan forward for accountability within human rights and social justice. Two years ago, George Floyd was killed after spending 9 minutes and 29 seconds face down on the pavement in Minneapolis with a police officer’s knee on his neck. His words, “I can’t breathe,” were heard across the country via the Internet and social media, demonstrating the power of citizen journalism in anti-racist efforts. The #BlackLivesMatter movement has existed for years, and systemic racism has been ignored by many for centuries. However, this incident being caught on camera forced groups who haven’t historically paid attention to pay attention to the ongoing devaluing of Black lives. Today, we at US² want to bring attention to the need for accountability when murder occurs at the hands of those who are charged with protecting us.
When you hear someone say, “Black Lives Matter,” it is not a statement of superiority. It is a reminder that since the first slaves were brought to America, Black individuals have societally been considered less valuable to society, less important to care about, and often, less human. Saying one identity matters does not take away the value of another. It instead points out that an identity is facing a crisis, and this crisis is life and death. Black lives are constantly at risk, just by existing. George Floyd was killed over an accusation of a counterfeit $20 bill.
Murders of Black and Brown individuals at the hands of law enforcement are nothing new; it is the rise of social media and citizen journalism that has made us more aware of the occurrence. The only way to stop the injustice is to advocate for change. Be anti-racist. Lift up Black voices and lives. Make a commitment to yourself to not be racist and make a commitment to address racism in the world as you witness it happening. Once we know better, we must do better.