Originally published June 15, 2020
Most everyone is aware of the tragic deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Regis Korchinski-Paquet (murdered by police in Canada by being pushed off a balcony).
There’s a long list of names who have been murdered, with no justice for their families. It has not only sparked national outrage but also global. Countries like Japan, Germany, England (London), Paris, Korea, and New Zealand are marching in protests of solidarity with us because we can not say “All lives matter” until Black lives matter. We have never mattered in this country, and that’s the hard truth. The talk of slavery irks people, but until we talk about it, things will never change. None of my ancestors asked to be slaves; none of our ancestors asked to come to America. None of them asked to be thrown off ships, taken away from their families, beaten and tortured by well-known Caucasian Americans, such as Delphine LaLaurie, who hid slaves in her house and tortured and murdered them. Joshua John Ward held the largest slaveholder title in his time, and Edward Colston shipped more than 150,000 slaves from 1672 to 1720, with one in five dying en route.
Protests and Looting
Protests have been going on for two weeks, and things are gradually changing. Laws have been put into place that are going up to court as we speak. My generation is tired of seeing our brothers, sisters, friends, parents, etc. murdered for no reason. Racism has always been here in America, it’s just now being filmed. We have to tackle the drawbacks we are getting from the BLM movement, but people don’t seem to understand that this impacts us. Not only are African Americans protesting for our rights to be alive and utilizing our first amendment right, but others are also joining us. A lot of people know someone who has dealt with police brutality.
Some people have turned to looting during the protests, and African Americans are getting the blame for it. There is countless evidence that shows it is not what the news has made it to be.
Cops are being violent toward peaceful protestors by using rubber bullets that are aimed directly toward the head when they are designed to be aimed at the ground to ricochet and hit the legs. People have been losing their eyes, among other severe injuries. Not long ago, a 75-year-old activist was pushed down, and not one cop stopped to help him. Even here in Chicago, I watched a cop trip a young African American man in Hyde Park, and then four to five cops started to beat him with batons until protestors surrounded to get them off. We kneel, it’s a problem; we protest, it’s a problem. What do we have to do for people to take Black lives seriously? What do you tell a six-year-old African American girl or boy who thinks they won’t make it to 17 because their skin color makes them a “target”? What do we tell young black adults who want to go into fields that are predominately white, and there’s a chance they won’t be welcomed in because of the color of their skin? What do we do?
Black Owned Businesses to Support
In honor of the BLM movement, I want to highlight how you can help. Sign petitions, call representatives of your state to get immunity lessened so cops can be charged when committing crimes, and support small black-owned businesses. For example, www.eatblackowned.com is a website to help you find local black-owned restaurants in your city.
For those who like all-natural products, check out the following businesses: Salt Spray Soap Co., Max Beauty LLC, The Butter Bar, Beauty Bakerie by Cashmere Nicole, UOMA Beauty by Sharon Chuter, BB Bombs, WeBuyBlack.com, and more. All you have to do is type in #blackownedbusiness on Instagram, and over 3.7 million results will appear. No social media? Google has over 121 million results for “black-owned businesses in America.” It is not hard to find these businesses in your city. Readers, you have the power to help African Americans by supporting the movement, signing petitions for laws to be created for better justice, supporting local businesses, hiring more African Americans into your workspace, and helping African American students get the same education skills as those in the suburbs and other parts. Take a look at what’s going on. African Americans never said all lives did not matter. We said that Black lives have to matter, as well, before we can say ALL.
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Hello, my name is Alexis Williamson (soon-to-be Audrey). I am a young, aspiring screenwriter from the south side of Chicago, IL. I've wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl and decided a year ago to major in screenwriting so I can write movies! I have other interests in music, fashion, and painting. I love meeting people from all walks of life, cooking, and having intellectual conversations. I am a tea lover and a cat mom!