Oh boy did I pick a great time to stop doing Weekly Blogs. I went from having nothing to talk about to a lot to talk about. Which I guess that’s a good problem to have. Writing this now also gives me a chance to give a little insight after the fact instead of discussing my thoughts in real time. Now a lot that I’m going to talk about is still very much ongoing, so even as I write this, things could change. I just feel like I need to express my feelings about some of the big things happening in the United States and the world right now. Before I get to that; however, I just want to remind everyone that I published a ton of Poetry and Writing Prompt posts during May and June which did not have Weekly Blog posts to boost them. I highly recommend readers new and old go back and check out all of those pieces because there are some real gems that might have gotten less views due to the lack of boost. Most recently I published Six Word Memoirs Part 9 which also speaks to a lot of the stuff going on right now. Obviously this Weekly Blog will address those things further because it’s hard to summarize all my feelings in just six words. Also this past Friday, I published a Creative Writing Piece titled “Scarlet Door” which takes an idea I was going to write with help from an Artificial Intelligence and expands upon it. I really enjoyed writing it and it would be amazing if it got a big boost of views. I really appreciate all the love and support!
As you know, 2020 is crazy and it doesn’t seem like the later half of the year will be any less so. The whole world has had to deal with a global pandemic as well as the economic fallout of quarantine. The US is still in the middle of the pandemic and many states are in the middle of trying to reopen business and lift closures as the number of positive cases continue to rise. At times it looks like the US has given up on containing Covid-19 and are trying to brute force through it even though a second wave could be potentially worse and deadlier than the first. During all of this, there has been an eruption of protests and marches in connection to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. I’d be very surprised if anyone reading this don’t already know the situations surrounding the deaths of both George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, so I’ll quickly summarize. George Floyd was killed by The Minneapolis Police Department after he was arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit bill (Wikipedia). During George Floyd’s arrest, one Police Officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds despite the fact that George Floyd did not struggle with the officers and repeatedly told the police that “I can’t breathe.” After Floyd’s death and the release of video taken by a bystander, protests and marches were held around the world. The words “I can’t breathe” and the number 8:46 became symbols of these marches to fight against police brutality and the way the police deal with Black People, Hispanic People, and People of Color as well as calls for the four police officers involved be charged with murder. On top of this, there was a resurgence of people expressing “Black Lives Matter,” calls for police reform or a complete defunding of police departments, and a movement to fix the institutional racism that people of color still face in the US and around the world.
Connected to this was the Death of Breonna Taylor (New York Times). If you aren’t aware, Breonna Taylor was also killed by police officers, but the circumstance around her murder are different. Breonna Taylor was killed when police officers carried out a no-knock warrant. A no-knock warrant is a controversial practice “that allows law enforcement to enter a property without immediate prior notification of the residents, such as by knocking or ringing a doorbell.” (Wikipedia) In the case of Breonna Taylor, police officers entered here apartment without announcing themselves (although The Police Department says that notice was given) and there was a shoot out between Breonna’s Boyfriend and the Police. He believed that someone was breaking into their apartment and shot at the person in self-defense, while the police officers fired back killing Breonna Taylor. The Police suspected that Breonna Taylor was receiving drugs at her apartment but no drugs were ever found. The country was already dealing with protests, but the death of George Floyd also launched Breonna Taylor’s story into the national spotlight. One other difference between these two stories is that the officers involved in George Floyd’s death have been charged with murder after days and weeks of protests while the officers involved with Breonna Taylor’s murder has not (as of writing this Weekly Blog. Hopefully this has changed by the time this is published).
Even though the US is still dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, marches and protests have continued across the entire country in many major cities. People continue to speak out against racial injustice and call on the people in charge to reform or defund the police. Even though media coverage of these marches and demonstrations have decreased, protesters have not stopped calling for justice for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
So where do I fit into all of this? That I’m not really sure. I’m a white male who has not had to deal with the systematic racism that people of color have had to deal with all their lives. Before all of this, I saw The Police was a necessary part of society that helped crack down on crime and kept people safe. I saw the idea of being pulled over by Police as annoying and not a potential death sentence. I also grew up in a very rural, very conservative part of the country where people hear “Black Lives Matter” and reply with “All Lives Matter.” In the aftermath of the killings of people like Trayvon Martin (Wikipedia), Micheal Brown (Wikipedia), and Tamir Rice (Wikipedia), I was a young man in college and very ignorant to the national conversation around their deaths. I was not informed on the systematic racism that plagues the US and the hardships that Black People and People of Color have to deal with on a daily basis. I sit here writing this now probably still ignorant about a lot of things. However, I feel like I am a bit more informed about the conversations happening now and I continue to listen and learn as much as I can from the People of Color constantly talking about their experiences and the change they want to see come out of these horrible deaths. I absolutely believe Black Lives Matter and that all lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter. It’s not enough just to say you care and then do nothing about it. Everyone needs to do their best to fight for these causes and raise Black voices. I don’t have a huge platform here on WordPress, but I still feel the need to use the platform I have to echo those sentiments. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. BLACK LIVES MATTER!!
There are some others things I want to say, some of which I have talked about in that Six Word Memoir:
First, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd’s murderers should be brought to justice. Police Officers are not above the law.
Second, during these marches and protests, Police Officers from all over the country have attacked peaceful protesters, journalists, and even medical professionals helping protesters. Any Police Officer who would attack peaceful protesters and target journalists and nurses should be punished to the furthest extant of the law.
Third, I do believe the police can be reformed to better serve the community, but I think a percentage of police funds should be divested from the police and used to fund things like Social Workers, Community Centers, Mental Health Providers, and other social services that are often missing from communities that need them the most.
Fourth, tear down every single monument to the Confederate and Slavers. It’s insane that over 150 years after The American Civil War, cities continue to have monuments to the traitors that fought against The United States and stood for slavery. I know some people will say that The American Civil War wasn’t about slavery, it was about “State’s Rights,” and my reply to that is “State’s Rights to what…?. State’s Rights to own slaves. Tear the monuments down and stop waving the flag of traitors. Take pride in The United States and its unification, not separatists and traitors.
Fifth, I want to say that I support the LGBTQ+ community. Even though I am straight, I support people who are not and they should not face repercussions for being a part of the LGBTQ+ community. I feel like Pride month was overshadowed by both the ongoing pandemic and the ongoing marches for Black Lives, but hopefully everyone had a chance to celebrate who they are. Trans men are men, trans women are women, and non-binary are valid. Trans rights are human rights. There are a lot I don’t know about sexuality and gender, but as long as people aren’t hurting others with their beliefs and any sexual relationships happen between consenting adults, then I support them. Love is love and people shouldn’t try to use their religion to attack people’s sexual preferences or gender identity.
Sixth, wear your mask and social distance! Covid-19 is not over yet and it’s important that we continue to protect ourselves and others from the disease. Just please wear your mask. It’s not that hard. It doesn’t hinder your breathing. It isn’t a symbol of government oppression. It’s just a common courtesy and a simple thing that can help prevent the spread of the disease. It’s so tiring that have to say it, but I’ll say it again. WEAR YOUR MASK.
Well I don’t know what else I need to say. 2020 is so exhausting and I can’t believe that things like wearing a mask or saying Black Lives Matter is still controversial to some. There’s a good chance that I might even lose followers or support over the things I say here in this Weekly Blog, and honestly that’s fine. I am trying to build a positive and creative space on the internet and there is no room in that space for things like racism and homophobia. I will not tolerate it. If you are someone out there offended by the things I said, I want you to ask yourself why. Maybe you are like me. Someone who grew up (and/or still live) in a very conservative space with very little People of Color. If you are, I highly recommend leaving that conservative bubble and seek out differing opinions. Listen to the Black Community and People of Color. Listen to their stories and become informed about what is going on in the world. Willful ignorance can not be allowed to stay. We have to listen to the voices calling out to change and help the United States become a better place for all. We cannot just stand by and let our fellow Americans be treated like this. We have to wake up. Again I say, Black Lives Matter. They matter today, tomorrow, and forever.
That was a lot. I know. But it’s important. And I hope that you also think that these things need to be said. Again, I’m just a white guy with a small platform on the internet, but I think it’s important that every single person from the tiniest of platforms to the biggest talk about the situation at hand and raise Black Voices so they can be heard. Here is a list of resources from Black Lives Matter that can help make a difference including things like petitions you can sign, organizations you can donate to, and ways you can make a difference. I have donated to a few different organizations, but I understand that we are dealing with a global recession and money can be tight. Sharing these resources and signing petitions are free ways you can help out and I highly recommend checking them out.
Usually I end these things with a shill for myself and stuff about me, but this time it doesn’t feel right. I’d rather just thank everyone who has read this far for their support and again recommend checking out the list of resources provided by Black Lives Matter Organization. Don’t stop marching, protesting, donating, sharing, and making your voice heard. As long as we stay united, we can change the world.
I hope you all have a wonderful week,
Header Photo Credit to CNN