Updated: Jun 29, 2020
Given the times, I think it is important to share my thoughts as a young black man in a country that over the course of its existence displays a disdain for my people. This country was built on the backs of black and brown people. It has people who were stolen away from lands far away to work without getting compensated for their efforts. It is tiresome. It is stressful. It is exhausting. Please read these thoughts.
Margaret LaVerne Mitchell. LaTanya Haggerty. Amadou Diallo. Kendra James. Trayvon Martin. Manuel Loggins Jr. Ronald Madison. Sean Bell. Eric Garner. Tamir Rice. Michael Brown, Jr. Alton Sterling. Ramarley Graham. Shereese Francis. Rekia Boyd. Jamar Clark. Yvette Smith. Tamar Rice. Laquan McDonald. Akai Gurley. Ezell Ford. Christian Taylor. Walter Scott. Natasha McKenna. Freddie Gray. Brendon Glenn. Samuel DuBose. Gregory Gunn. Akiel Denkins. Philando Castile. Terence Crutcher. Jeremy McDole. William Chapman II. Eric Harris. Tony Robinson. Rumain Brisbon. Kajieme Powell. Dante Parker. John Crawford III. Tyree Woodson. Victor White III. McKenzie Cochran. Jordan Baker. Miriam Carey. Jonathan Ferrell. Carlos Alcis. Larry Eugene Jackson Jr. Deion Fludd. Sandra Bland. Keith Lamont Scott. Kimani Gray. Johnnie Kamahi Warren. Paul O'Neal. Malissa Williams. Timothy Russell. Chavis Carter. Shantel Davis. Sharmel Edwards. Tamon Robinson. Ervin Jefferson. Kendrec McDade. Rekia Boyd. Wendell Allen. Raymond Allen. Alonzo Ashley. Kenneth Harding. Raheim Brown. Reginald Doucet. Danroy Henry. Aiyana Jones. Steven Eugene Washington. Aaron Campbell. Kiwane Carrington. Victor Steen. Shem Walker. Oscar Grant. Tarika Wilson. Korryn Gaines. Shelly Frey. Alesia Thomas. Darnisha Harris. Tanisha Anderson. Kathryn Jonnston. DeAunta Terrel Farrow. Henry Glover. Timothy Stansbury. Alberta Spruill. Ousmane Zongo. Timothy Thomas. Patrick Dorismond. David Johnson. Malcolm Ferguson. Caleb Smith. Dana Martin. Ellie Marie Washtock. Jazzaline Ware. Ashanti Carmon. Claire Legato. Muhlaysia Booker. Michelle 'Tamika' Washington. Paris Cameron. Chynal Lindsey. Chanel Scurlock. Denali Berries Stuckey. Tracy Single. Bubba Walker. Kiki Fantroy. Jordan Cofer. Pebbles LaDime Doe. Bailey Reeves. Bee Love Slater. Jamagio Jamar Berryman. Itali Marlowe. Marcal Camero Tye. Dee Dee Pierson. Deoni Jones. Tyrell Jackson. Paige Clay. Brandy Martell. Tiffany Gooden. Deja Jones. Kendall Hampton. Aniya Parker. Papi Edwards. Emantic Bradford. Janisha Fonville. Jamarion Robinson. Jemel Roberson. Jimmy Atchison. William Green. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery.
129 Names are listed above. These are the names I found after an hour of research. We have Black folk from all walks of life. Young. Old. Brother. Sister. Father. Mother. Grandfather. Grandmother. Straight. Gay. Transgender. This list contains the names of some you may have heard about and some you have never heard about at all. We are at a point in this nation's history where change is a must. We have needed change for the last 100 years. Hell. Longer than that. I need people to understand how generational trauma is not easy to shake free. Generations upon generations of mistreatment can do something to the psyche. Do you remember the first time someone like you was killed at the hands of police?
I have known about Black people dying at the hands of the police since I was 9 years old. That's right. Amadou Diallo. At a young age, I was told being obedient and respectful towards authority will ideally save your life. This narrative has countlessly been proven to be incorrect over the subsequent 21 years of my existence. People are dying in their homes, outside of their homes, while going for a jog, inside their car, going to the grocery store, going shopping in a store - the list can literally go on. Please tell me where we are allowed to exist freely without someone making us out to be the aggressors/thugs/roughnecks the media depicts us to be? I would love to know. Exactly. That is the root of the issue we have had for countless years. How do people want us to be so we can be left alone to live life the way everyone else is? We want the same opportunities to live life and enjoy liberty while we are in our pursuit of happiness. That's it. So simple. Yet we are in survival mode every single day of the year.
How Black people maneuver on a daily basis is a testament to our will power and desire to survive. I have to always be on edge wherever I go because that could be my last day. All due to the perception of what people assume Black people to be. Stereotypes are maddening because I have always been a good student. I got As and Bs in school (JHS/HS/College). I have a degree. I am educated. I am not from the streets but understand how they operate. I do not have children floating around and I am not lazy. The fact I have to write ANY of these facts out is ridiculous. It is as if I am auditioning my value on a daily basis on why I or anyone who looks like me should NOT be killed. How can anyone at this time scream#AllLivesMatter and not realize if ALL lives matter then #BLACKLIVESMATTER. You should be outraged that one group of people are treated unjustly. If you don't, I need you to look in the mirror and ponder why. Why are you able to turn a blind eye to what is going on in the country?
Let's pull up some statistics from Mapping Police Violence. Let's start with the graphic up above. There were only TWENTY SEVEN days where police did not kill someone in 2019. 365 days in a year and 338 of them had someone dead due to police violence. Black people are 3 times more likely to be killed by the police than white people per 1 million population (Police Homicide Rate = 6.6). We are 1.3 times more likely to be unarmed compared to white people. 8 of the 100 largest city police departments kill black men at higher rates than the US Murder rate based off 2018 statistics.
1,099 people died in 2019. Black people make up 24% of that total yet are only 13% of the nation's population. 263 people who are black died in 2019 due to police violence. That is only looking at ONE year. Imagine if we go back 10 years. 20 years. Further back even. I need you to understand that being desensitized to people dying is no excuse. These deaths were from real people who were a part of real communities who are gone forever. We can do things to change this from happening on a daily basis. There has to be some solutions to lower the deaths by police violence right?
99% of killings by police from 2013-2019 have not resulted in officers being charged with a crime.
When you experience 99% of police killings not being held accountable, you and the other people who look like you begin to feel hopeless. What. Can. We. Do? Honestly. I have been thinking about this for quite some time. Even now, people are protesting across the entire world. That is great. There is a way you can help if you cannot make it to the front lines. You can support with your dollar and you can support by signing petitions. For all of my non black people of color and white allies, do me a favor. Please donate money, sign petitions, and educate people close to you. This isn't a game. There are no respawns (rebirths). People who are dead do not get a chance to do this life thing over again. I need you to take it seriously like you have for other atrocities in other parts of the world. It is ugly right now. This does not mean it can't get better. You can make a difference. Please help. This is America. We all live here and we can change how it will be for future generations. You merely have to take the first step with us to help make it happen. We do not want more bloodshed. We want equality and to feel like our lives hold value in this country.
Donate To Mutual Aid Funds in Major Cities:
Donate To Support the Protestors:
Sign The Petitions:
White House Petition — Demand the arrests of Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J Alexander Kueng (the four police officers who killed George Floyd).
Reclaim the Block — Tell Minneapolis City Council to defund the police.
Justice for George Floyd — Demand the officers who killed George Floyd are charged with murder.
Justice for Breonna Taylor — Demand the arrests of the officers involved as well as pay damages to Taylor’s family.
Justice For Tony McDade — Bring public attention to McDade’s unjust murder at the hands of Tallahassee police.
#DefundThePolice - Petition on the BLM website to focus on defunding the police.
Color of Change - Sign this petition calling for the end of police violence against Black people.
BlackLivesMatter: How to Support Black-Owned Small Businesses - this article has more resources to assist black businesses and how to support the movement.