by Reonna Haywood – Staff Reporter
When George Zimmerman, a neighborhood crime watch captain, shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman told the police, “…that Martin knocked him down with a punch to the nose, and repeatedly slammed his head on the ground and tried to take his gun.” Zimmerman said, “He had called the police about Martin, whom he found suspicious, then went back to his car when Martin attacked him, punching him. The police told Zimmerman to stop following Martin, however, he did not follow their orders. Martin’s girlfriend overheard a conversation between Martin and Zimmerman where Martin asked Zimmerman why he was continually following him, which ended in a scuffle and then the line went dead. Zimmerman shot Martin when he allegedly went for his gun. According to the Huffingtonpost, as of Sept. 21, “136 African Americans dead in 2016.” The police have killed 136 African Americans, who were mostly unarmed. The violence against African Americans must stop; one movement trying to bring clarity to the issue is #BlackLivesMatter.
Due to the violent deaths of African Americans at the police’s hands, and Treyvon Martin’s death, #BlackLivesMatter was created in the summer of 2013. That’s when a person tweeted about the violence and then following the tweet wrote #BlackLivesMatter. As the hashtag gained more popularity, the movement was founded by African American community organizers: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi.
#BlackLivesMatter shows how negatively many people around the world feel about violence toward African Americans. African Americans are angry about the violence happening based on discrimination. Community in school & BSU Co-founder Nasarin Ahmed said “We are afraid that one day it will be one of our own that will be shot or end up on a YouTube video.” Said Ahmed. White Americans don’t know this fear, because they are not targeted every day. African American parents have to tell their kids different things than white people do. African Americans have to tell their kids not to wear their hoods up, don’t talk back to authority, don’t wear gang colors or bandanas, don’t play loud music when driving; basically, don’t bring attention to yourself. White Americans don’t understand how much stress and violence African Americans go through daily.
The violence that has happen in 2016 has brought #BlackLivesMatter to everybody’s attention. African Americans need the police force to see that discriminating against African Americans is not acceptable and is leading to additional violence. African Americans deserve peace and freedom, just like the Constitution states for all Americans. Unfortunately, kids feel unsafe outside of their homes, because of their skin color. The police are supposed to protect and be role models.
#BlackLivesMatter is not so much a movement, as a call to attention to show how African Americans are mistreated and are dying every day. Black lives matter as much as white lives matter; all are humans and should be treated equally. People are tired of police terrorizing African Americans. #BlackLivesMatter is a start to a conversation that needs to take place: a call to action. This problem has been going on since slavery, since the Jim Crow Laws, and since the March on Washington with Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement. We are in the midst of a new Civil Rights Movement that must take place in order for equality and justice to happen for everyone.
Tamir Rice was a 12-years-old boy, who was playing in the park with a BB gun who was caught pointing it around when a women called it in but stated twice that it might be a fake gun. The police arrived at the scene and fatally shot him; they did not supply first aid until it was too late and he died. Tamir Rice was only 12 years old. His mom Samaria has lost her son to violence by the police department, she has lost her son because he was playing with a bb gun. Instead of the police investigating the scene, the police pulled out their guns.
Sandra Bland was 28-years-old, she was pulled over for an improper lane change and then the Texas trooper arrested her on charges of assault. She was found hung in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas. In her mugshot, she already looks dead. When Sandra Bland’s mom questioned the police about her death, her mom sued them and received a settlement of $1.9 million dollars for justice.
Terence Crutcher, 40 years old, was shot and killed Friday, Sept. 16. After the officers were supposed to respond to an unrelated call, they spotted his vehicle stuck in the middle of the roadway. Officer Betty Shelby, and a second officer, Tyler Turnbough took action. Crutcher followed the orders the police officers told him which is supported by footage, but officer Turnbough pulled out his taser which made Crutcher fall to the floor. Officer Shelby pulled out her gun and fired the fatal shot. Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said, “There was no gun found on Crutcher or in his vehicle.” Crutcher was nonviolent, not armed, but Shelby still shot a gun at him. Chief Jordan said, “I will just make this promise to you: We will achieve justice in this case. I want to assure our community and I want to assure all of you and people across the nation who are going to be looking at this: We will achieve Justice period.”
Keith Lamont Scott
As recently as Sept. 20, Keith Lamont Scott 43-years-old, was murdered by the police in Charlotte, North Carolina because they mistook a book for a gun. He was shot at his house while waiting for his son’s elementary school bus to arrive. This time, an African American officer shot Scott. Scott’s family said he didn’t have a gun, that he was reading a book and was being non-aggressive when the police surrounded him. Attorney Justin Bamberg, who is representing Scott’s family said, “The videos don’t show anything that should have led to Scott losing his life.”
People taking a stand…
Protesting during national anthem and pledge
Many are mad at Colin Kaepernick for first sitting and then kneeling during the National Anthem, but want to make excuses for the police who constantly killing African Americans. Terence Crutcher is another example why Kaepernick is protesting, Kaepernick is standing for social injustices, because the freedoms of our nation guarantees in the Constitution are not being applied to everyone. In a quote in the New York Times, Kaepernick said, “Once again, I’m not anti-American,” Kaepernick said. “I love America. I love people. That’s why I’m doing this. I want to help make America better. I think having these conversations helps everybody have a better understanding of where everybody is coming from.”
At school, some feel the same as Kaepernick. Although students are expected to stand up during the Pledge of Allegiance during the third period announcements, Senior Hezekiah Goodwin chooses to sit. “I sit down for the pledge because I feel the country is divided and the African American community is being unjustly treated. I want to join the movement along with Kaepernick and the others who also believe this. It’s to make a statement.” Said Goodwin.