Trigger warning: Police brutality, racism
I have been at a loss for words. I have spent the past few nights trying to wrap my head around everything that is currently going on in America. My head hurts, my heart hurts, and I feel scared of what will happen next.
Only two hours away from where I live, Breonna Taylor, an EMT from Louisville, Kentucky, was shot eight times by police after they barged into her home in the middle of the night in March. No drugs were found, and the person who they had a warrant for had already been detained by the time police entered Taylor’s home.
Within the next few months, I have seen two videos of Black men dying in the hands of white males. First it was Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot down by two white males while he was jogging in a neighborhood. They thought he looked like a “criminal”, chased him, and shot him several times until he hit the ground.
The latest death of a Black man was seen by millions of people around the world, and his death has started many protests all over the US.
His name is George Floyd. I saw the video of George lying face-down on the ground with both of his hands handcuffed on his back, and there is a white male officer kneeling on his neck. On the video, George Floyd said “I can’t breathe” 13 times and“They’re gonna kill me” four times, but what broke me was when George started to call out for his mamma. I could not believe that the officer ignored his pleas and kept his knee on his neck.
As a former MMA fighter, I can honestly say that the officer involved in George Death had intent to kill. In MMA, we are taught to fight, not to kill. Kneeling on someone’s neck is illegal in MMA because it can kill a person in minutes, so if that move is illegal in what you would call a violent sport, then why did that officer do it? Intent to kill.
Some of George’s last words were “I can’t breath,” and these are the same words that Eric Garner said before he passed away. Eric Garner was another unarmed Black man who died after he was held in a chokehold by a New York Police officer in July 2014.
Unfortunately, this is not the first or the last time we hear of another Black person dying in a racist and violent act.
There is a long list of unarmed Black men who were killed by police officers, and in most of these cases the police officers were not charged. Studies show that police killed 1,099 people in 2019. Black people were 24% of those killed, despite being only 13% 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.
We keep hearing about crimes against the Black community. And many people are feeling frustration and anger—frustration because the deaths 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? 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. I am angry about what is happening. I fear that one day I will lose one of my close friends in a hate crime. I am frustrated because this doesn’t seem to stop. I feel pain because my heart aches for the families who lost a child, a parent, an uncle or aunt, or a grandparent in the hands of evil individuals. I said evil because there is no other word to call someone who takes another person’s life when they were not being a threat to them.
There is a war zone in Minneapolis right now. So many people are out in the streets using violence to voice their anger. And I get it, people are angry and irate, but even Floyd’s brother told protesters to stop looting because that won’t bring his brother back. Instead of reacting to violence with violence, we all need to come together in a harmonious way to fight racism and seek justice. Go out and vote. Choose your leaders. Donate to organizations supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
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.
RIP George Floyd and all the Black Americans who lost their lives to brutality.