What Is It Going To Take For Black Lives To Finally Matter In America?

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What Is It Going To Take For Black Lives To Finally Matter In America?

By Mitzi J Hernandez

A few days ago, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a disturbing video that someone shared: a video of a black male named George Floyd facedown, laying on the ground with both of his hands handcuffed on his back, and there is a white male officer kneeling on his neck.

In the video, George Floyd said 13 times, “I can’t breathe,” and 4 times, “they’re gonna kill me,” and the officer ignored his pleas and kept his knee on his neck. When first responders arrived, Floyd was unresponsive and, later on, he died.

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Floyd’s words “I can’t breathe” are the same words that Eric Garner said before he passed away. Another unarmed black man, Eric Garner died after bering held in a chokehold by a New York Police officer in July 2014. 

Watching that video broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes. Everyone who watched that video witnessed a man die in the hands of a supposed protector. It was a senseless death; we witnessed the death of a fellow human. 

There is a long list of unarmed black men killed by police officers. In most of these cases, the police officers walked away without any charges.

George Floyd’s death is not the first death — and unfortunately, it won’t be the last one.

The #BlackLivesMatter movement started after the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012, when members of the black community and activists everywhere needed an outlet for their frustration, and they found one: social media and the Black Lives Matter movement

Today, exactly eight years later, we still hear about African-American men killed in the hands of whites. 

This February, two white men shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery while he jogged through his neighborhood. 

Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Gardner and George Floyd are just a few of the countless black men who died because of brutality and racism.

They lost their lives because they were targeted because of the color of their skin. 

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Studies show that police killed 1,099 people in 2019. Black people were 24 percent of those killed, despite being only 13 percent of the population. There is a long record of cases that show that black Americans are victims of hate crimes more than any other group. 

Sadly, this is not surprising. We keep hearing about crimes against the black community. And many people are feeling frustration and anger — frustration, because the shootings of unarmed black citizens have become a new norm, and anger because, time and time again, nothing seems to be done to end it. 

After every death of a black person, we see #BlackLivesMatter hashtag all over social media, but I often wonder, do black lives really matter in America?

Do they? Because there is a consistent pattern of hate crimes against the black community. 

Racism is real and very much alive in America; racism is a deliberate choice to act in a manner that purposefully denigrates someone of the other race. People are being targeted and losing their lives because of the color of their skin. 

Every time I hear about a senseless death, I feel an array of negative emotions. It breaks my heart to see fellow humans losing their lives for no reason.

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I’m angry about what is happening. I fear that, one day, I will lose one of my close friends in a hate crime. I feel frustrated, because this doesn’t seem to stop.

My heart aches for the families who lost a son, a father, an uncle or a grandparent in the hands of evil individuals. I said evil, because there is no other word to call someone to take a person’s life when they were not being a threat to them. 

There is a war zone in Minneapolis right now, and so many people are out in the streets using violence to voice their anger. But instead of reacting to violence with violence, we all need to come together in a harmonious way to fight racism and seek justice. 

Fellow humans, can we just stop killing each other? Can we stop trying to terminate our human race? Can we stop using violence to prove a point? 

In the words of Martin Luther King: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Our skin complexion background, ethnicity or race may differentiate us from one another, but at the end of day, we all are the same. It doesn’t matter where we came from — we all are humans and share the same planet. Let’s be kind to each other. 

R.I.P George Floyd and all the African-American men who lost their lives to brutality. Hopefully, someday black lives will finally matter in America.

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Mitzi J Hernandez is a writer who focuses on health and wellness, mental health, and love. For more of her health and wellness content, visit her Twitter page.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.