2020 roared its way into our lives and opened the eyes of many to see people for exactly who they are. As a nation, many people who are not black, turned a blind eye to racism; rather believing it didn’t exist instead of believing our cries that it continued to happen across the nation. Now, 2020 has given the nation perfect vision into the virus that has infected America for over 400 years.
Perfect vision is generally termed as “20/20” and this year has given us perfect vision to see what’s at the heart of many Americans, some of whom are our friends, our co-workers, maybe even family. I have read posts on Facebook that would shock you. Our leaders have spewed hateful words inciting others to follow them and instilling a sense of empowerment to those who have harbored these destructive and divisive emotions inside for years.
At the time of this writing, 2020 is but five months old and we have added four names to the list of those who have died senselessly; three of whom were at the hands of police. In an effort not to forget them, let us mention them here:
Ahmaud Arbery, gunned down simply for wanting to go out on a run. He woke up on his last day feeling a desire to exercise which is his right to do but paid for it with his life. It should not be a death sentence to exercise.
Breonna Taylor, gunned down in her bed because the police decided to execute a no-knock warrant on her apartment. Earlier in the evening the leading suspect of the crime was apprehended (without violence) but the police felt the need to go after her boyfriend who had little to do with the crimes. Breonna had nothing to do with the crimes. Couldn’t the warrant be executed during the day when the possibility of someone dying would be less likely?
George Floyd, for 8:46 seconds a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on this man’s neck leading to his death. For 8:46 seconds he could be heard crying out for his life. Constantly reminding the officers that he could not breathe. His cries were not answered and these four men who were sworn to protect and serve allowed him to die.
It was George Floyd’s wrongful death that brought outrage to not only America but around the world as protests took place in most major cities and countries like Italy, Germany and England. The cries for justice could be heard everywhere. That is everywhere except Atlanta, Georgia where in under three weeks following George Floyd’s death, Rayshard Brooks was gunned down by police. His crime… sleeping in a Wendy’s drive thru.
Rayshard had too much to drink and fell asleep in the drive thru. Police were called and a struggle ensued. Rayshard took the officers taser and ran. He suddenly stopped and turned. The officer pulled his gun then shot and killed him with three shots to the chest. The officer knew Rayshard was unarmed. He had more than enough time to search him. When Rayshard turned the officer knew he only had a taser and his life was not in danger. It should not be a crime to fall asleep in a drive thru.
If you think we don’t see you, we do. We see the pain you are inflecting on our brothers and sisters for no reason. The interactions with Ahmaud, Breonna, George and Rayshard were not reasons for the death penalty, or shall I say, murder?
We also see our own showing blatant disrespect for the race. We see you Candace Owens and we will remember the words that you spoke. We will remember how you compared the deaths of nine unarmed black people in 2019 to the death of 19 white people in the same year. Your comparison attempted to belittle the loss of black lives. Candace in case you read this US News reports, “About 17% of the black people who died as a result of police harm were unarmed, a larger share than any other racial group…” (US News, June 3, 2020, https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2020-06-03/data-show-deaths-from-police-violence-disproportionately-affect-people-of-color)
In the end, we want the world to know we are watching. We see all that goes on and we hear all that is being said. In November, we can take a step to turn the tide of this country. This article is not merely to provide information, it is a call to go out and take a stand. Show this country’s leaders that you are the real power and vote them out of office. A friend of mine once said, “I will not vote in this election because if I vote I would vote for the current president.” I have longed to ask with the unveiling of all our eyes and what 2020 has shown us; do you now refuse to vote?
Four people named in this article were murdered for absolutely no reason. Many years ago, others died while fighting to make positive changes. They fought for our right to vote. We cannot let their dying be in vain nor the deaths of the Ahmad, Breonna, George, and Rayshard. Vote!