As an Asian-American teenager, who has lived in this country for a majority of my life, I am ashamed. I am ashamed of what has not changed in our nation. I am ashamed of what has continued to happen. And I am ashamed by the hate and discrimination that our brothers and sisters continue to receive on a daily basis, simply due to the color of their skin and their ethnic background.
Innocent black men and women have been mistreated countless times. Although many other races and ethnicities have experienced racism in this country, I am aware that I will never understand nor will I ever experience the same amount and extent of hate and prejudice that any black man or woman will encounter in America. The inequities that African Americans face throughout their day to day life is simply unfair and unacceptable.
By now many people have heard about the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was out grocery shopping and paid for his items with a check in which a cashier suspected to be fake and forged. They then called 911 on Floyd who was unarmed. The police arrived at the scene, which was where Floyd was handcuffed and pinned to the ground. Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes. This specific situation has gotten a significant amount of social media coverage, as people across platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, and more have come out to express their opinions and how they are feeling about this given subject.
I believe that Chauvin murdered Floyd. He had many chances to let him go. Floyd begged the officer, shouting his last few words, which were things like “I can’t breathe,” and “please stop,” as he was getting choked. At the scene, bystanders took photos and videos of what was happening in front of them, urging the officer to stop knowing it would kill Floyd. Alongside Chauvin were three other officers, who at any point had the ability to stop him and stand up for Floyd. However they did not do that.
On Thursday, May 28th, 2020, the four officers, who were present at the scene, were announced fired from the Minneapolis Police Department. As of Friday, May 29th, 2020, former police officer Chauvin had been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Exactly one week after Chauvin was charged, on Friday, June 5th, 2020, the three other officers, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao also faced charges.
After it was initially reported that Chauvin was charged with third degree murder, people once again took to social media as they were outraged by the fact that they believe that the severity of Chauvin’s action were being downplayed. This resulted in the hashtag “#RaiseTheDegree” to go trending on the social media platform Twitter. Eventually Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder in adition to his previous charges.
Being safe and in quarantine due to the COVID-19 outbreak has given me a lot of alone time to think and process news. However, the more and more acts of racial judgement that occur in our country, the more difficult it is for myself to process. Hearing these heartbreaking stories of black men and women being wrongfully murdered has taught me to not only stand up for what is wrong, but also to not take anything for granted. I luckily do not experience the same conflicts as any person in the black community faces, and that is exactly why I find racial stereotyping and racial profiling in any form morally and ethically wrong.
This is an encouraging message: everyone who believes in equality for all in the United States should stand up for those who are suffering from unjustified prejudice and make these innocent murders known in order to take further action upon racism and discrimination within America. And as for those who are going out and protesting for justice, not only for Floyd but also for the other numerous individuals that the community has lost due to racial injustice, I have the utmost respect and support for the efforts you are taking.
Other than protesting, there are many other ways to show support for the movement.
- Justice for George Floyd: https://www.change.org/p/mayor-jacob-frey-justice-for-george-floyd
- Black Lives Matter Petition: https://blacklivesmatter.com/petitions/
- Justice for Breonna Taylor: https://www.change.org/p/andy-beshear-justice-for-breonna-taylor
- Justice for Ahmaud Arbery: https://www.change.org/p/district-attorney-tom-durden-justice-for-ahmaud-arbery-i-run-with-maud
- And so many other petitions for justice for many other victims
Educate yourself and those around you:
- Get a better understanding of what #BlackLivesMatter movement is: https://blacklivesmatter.com/
- Read the stories of the many other innocent victims
- Black Lives Matter: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019
- Massachusetts Bail Fund https://www.massbailfund.org/
For live updates on the George Floyd case, click here.