All races against racists.
We here at Trending Sloth believe in spreading upbeat and positive news. As such, we’ve always carefully chosen which stories we wish to write on and publish, to maintain that positive atmosphere. However, at times, we feel it is our duty to write on what really matters, despite how uncomfortable that story may be. This happens to be one of those times, but that doesn’t mean it can’t end on a positive note.
As we all stand in awe, watching the endless coverage of the ongoing protests across the United States–and now the world–we all but wonder, what is all this unrest about?
On the surface, the reason appears quite stark. A man by the name of George Floyd was unnecessarily murdered by (ex-)Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, while attempting to detain Mr. Floyd. Three other officers, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng, were also part of the arrest but failed to intervene as Chauvin’s knee choked Floyd. All four men have been fired from their jobs, while only Chauvin has been arrested.
In the immediate aftermath, however, there were no arrests or any indication (or historical precedent) that any action would be taken against the officers, despite damning evidence in the form of an unbearable video capturing the final moments of George Floyd’s life. The lack of responsibility and justice caused thousands to take to the streets to voice their grievances, seeking nothing more than a fair shake.
2 peaceful protests running into each other and merging into one in Detroit 💕 pic.twitter.com/0ddI7sJTQp— Kayla (@CupcakeStoner) May 31, 2020
Unfortunately, the headlines failed to maintain this fact, as the media soon became affixed on the chaos that had erupted. The focus fell primarily on the small sub-sect of opportunists who took advantage of the situation and caused mass disturbances and destruction, much to the dismay of a majority of legitimate protesters.
Even so, the images of the riots and videos of cities burning paints a very pungent picture as to what even the most polite protester is feeling deep within themselves. It’s the same unrest you feel within yourself when you’ve tried so hard to accomplish something, only to see it fall apart before your very eyes. Do you remember how you felt at that moment?
We’ve all experienced this in a variety of forms. Ever try to put IKEA furniture together, only to turn your living room into a rage room? Or maybe you’ve pulled out some locks of hair while putting on a stunning performance during charades only to have everyone completely miss the answer? Just infuriating, isn’t it?
Or maybe, you’ve been neglected by the very nation that promised “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” to all it’s citizens and you’ve run out of options to have your voice heard? Yeah, it’s not exactly the same thing, but I hope you get the point.
Now, hope is a powerful word but when it stands alone it bears the potential to lead us down a forlorn path, for hope, without action, is just a fantasy. We, as a society, have ridden the coattails of hope for generations, speaking about a better future while living in an illusion of a pleasant present. But now, the illusion is breaking and the hope is fading.
The writing is on the walls, metaphorically, and in graffiti. People want change and they want it now. You wouldn’t have been a fool to assume this protest was simply about another black man killed by the police. But you would be a fool to think that any further.
After more than a week of continuous protest and unrest, it’s clear this is about more than just George Floyd. This is about Ahmaud Arbery. This is about Pamela Turner. This is about Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Botham Jean, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, and the countless other young lives that were needlessly taken by an officer of the law and left unanswered. In the case of Ahmaud, it was a former police officer.
This is about a system that was stacked against black people and people of color. This is about deeply entrenched misconceptions and implicit biases that have created a cycle of oppression. Whether it was intended or not, black people, statistically, always seem to get the short-end of the stick, in America.
SA, TX pic.twitter.com/lNy9PMkDtC— josh. (@shoelacebelt210) May 31, 2020
This is about more than just hope. It’s about finally taking action. We must never lose hope, for without hope, we have nothing. But hope alone will not bring us the future we all dream of. There is a lot to be done, and the path towards change is never easy, nor clear, but do not think for an instant that change is not possible.
Together, we can create any world that we please. It’s time we created a world where black lives matter. You wouldn’t be mistaken in believing all lives matter, in fact, you’re more than right. But that house isn’t the one burning right now. It’s about time we put out the one that is.