I am not a person who shies away from giving my opinion. I like to tell people what’s on my mind and do so passionately.
Throughout the past year, though, I’ve struggled to speak up about something that’s been on my mind. I worry that I might say the wrong thing or that I don’t have the right to be talking about this, but it’s time things change.
We are fighting two global crises right now: racism and COVID-19.
The killing of George Floyd and many other Black men and women throughout this past year really sparked a change in the world that most people weren’t talking about enough. Racism is very much a pressing issue in today’s society. If you can’t admit that, you are part of the problem.
At 5:00 p.m. on April 20, I turned on ABC to hear the verdict of Derek Chauvin. It was a trial that most of the world was watching. The entire world saw Chauvin murder George Floyd. We didn’t need a trial to know that this happened, although U.S. citizens are granted the right to a fair trial.
As I was watching, my heart was pumping. Why might you ask? Because I was unsure of what the decision would be. Yes. That’s right. I was unsure of what the decision would be. Do you know why?
About 1,000 people are killed by cops every single year. Do you know how many have been charged with murder since 2005? Seven. Yep. You read that right.
I’m not here to say that every cop is bad or has bad intentions. That’s not what’s happening, but, we need to hold the ones who do bad things accountable. When you hold people accountable, people start to realize it’s not OK.
Darnella Frazier, a 17-year-old girl, was the one who filmed the tragic murder of Floyd, and the video went viral. And if it weren’t for her doing so I highly doubt that Chauvin would have been charged with murder in the second degree while committing a felony, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. None of Chauvin’s colleagues turned him in.
I truly believe the only reason Chauvin was actually charged was that the whole world was watching. They were ready to hold them accountable. They held protests, yelling “no justice, no peace.” And while justice may not have been served, since Floyd will never be able to take another breath, for just five minutes I felt happy that people actually did the right thing and held those in power accountable.
I am sick and tired of seeing the same thing happen over and over again. Why do I have to see that innocent people are getting killed on a daily basis? These kinds of things are so normalized then when it does happen, it doesn’t even surprise me. It angers me.
What this world needs more of is empathy and accountability. We need to put ourselves in other people’s shoes to try to better understand the human experience.
I am a 20-year-old white woman. I have no idea how Black people are feeling right now. I don’t know what it’s like to be judged just because of your skin color. The fact that my Black friends are judged based on their skin color is something I will never understand. But what I do understand is that their lives matter.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and I understand that this isn’t going to change overnight. Accountability is something that the world needs more of though.
From a young age, I was taught that if I did something wrong, I would have to face the consequences for my actions, and that’s exactly how it should be in today’s society. It starts with all of us.
If you see something, say something.