Humanity is calling for a change

Cindy Cuadra/Staff Writer


Humanity has been recently clouded by tragedies, racism and violence. A few weeks ago, the world mourned over the 50 innocent lives lost in the Orlando shooting. Just as society was beginning to move forward from one tragedy, three others occured.

On July 5, Alton Sterling, 37, was fatally shot multiple times in his back and chest after being pinned to the ground by two Baton Rouge police officers in Louisiana.

A day later, on July 6, another man suffered a similar fate in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Philando Castile, a 32-year-old man, was shot multiple times and killed at a traffic stop by St. Anthony police officers.

Twelve police officers were shot, five of them killed and seven of them injured, during a “Black Lives Matter” protest rally in Dallas, Texas a day later on July 7, by Micah Xavier Johnson. Johnson was a 25-year-old man who, according to ABC News, “expressed anger for Black Lives Matter” and wanted to harm police officers.

The recurrence of these hate crimes, the violence and the racism has driven society into mayhem. It reminds us how much work still needs to be done in order to better society and coexist with each other while respecting our differences. In times like these, it’s important to recommit ourselves to change.

As a society, we need to become conscious of the stereotypes we give to others and the consequences they may have. Generalizing a group of people for the wrongdoings of a few is what caused five police officers to lose their lives in Dallas.

The officers, who were at a protest rally to ensure the safety of “Black Lives Matter” protesters, were innocent people and because they wore a uniform, they were deemed evil by one individual who generalized an entire institution for the actions of a few bad officers.

Nevertheless, police brutality is still an ongoing issue. According to an article published this May, by the National Institute of Justice, research consistently shows that minorities are more likely than whites to distrust law enforcement and view them with suspicion. The article said “minorities frequently report that police disproportionately single them out because of their race or ethnicity.”

As a criminal justice minor, I’ve learned that in law enforcement, profiling is a necessary tactic. The method is meant to be used to describe characteristics of a person’s appearance or behavior in order to catch a suspect. However, racially profiling an individual to then arrest, shoot, or tackle them to the ground based on an assumption, is unacceptable. Perhaps training officers on new tactics for handling suspicious situations before they decide to pull the trigger could make all the difference.

FIU held a discussion on July 8, Reflections on Recent Tragic Events, to talk about how we can support each other.

“The events that have occurred around our nation and the world only serve to strengthen our resolve to embrace this diversity and work to preserve how that diversity manifests and expresses itself,” said FIU’s police Chief Alex Casas during his speech.

While speaking to FIU Student Media, Chief Casas said he hopes one thing we can take away from all these tragic events, is the energy to revitalize our society to move forward and make changes together.

President of the Black Student Union at FIU, Nykeema Radway, had many words of encouragement toward making changes.

“I feel like I’ve been in this place before, a place of grief, anger, a lot of confusion and fear,” said Radway during the opening of her speech. “You don’t have to be black to encourage change,” she said.

Radway motivated everyone to encourage change and to contribute more towards the movement of equality. “Sometimes we need more than just a retweet or a post on Instagram. We need the collective dedication toward equality.”

Having open discussions and open dialogue, like the opportunity FIU presented, is one way to start making progress towards equality and ending violence and hate crimes. No, not all lives matter yet in today’s society, because if they did, there would be no racism or violence or hate crimes.

The context of the “Black Lives Matter” movement is imperative because it represents the progression and equality that we are lacking in the U.S. It’s not to say that some lives matter over others, but to make it clear that black lives matter just as much as everyone else’s. It’s about inclusion not exclusivity.

Moving forward from any tragedy is never easy, but it’s necessary. Sterling, Castile, Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Sean Bell and unfortunately many others are more than enough proof to realize that change needs to happen.

Whether it’s emailing members of our Congress regarding legislative changes, joining the Black Student Union at FIU, peacefully protesting, or even just researching and taking time out of your day to think about the events going on in society to form your own understanding and solutions are contributions toward making changes.

FIU’s President Mark Rosenberg said during his speech at Reflections, “We all have the potential to lead by example and in times like this we must recommit to that.” These issues affect everyone, whether we realize it or not. It’s time to let the past be the past and make a better future for ourselves and the generations after us. We cannot lose faith in humanity.

As the late rap superstar, Tupac Shakur said in his Grammy nominated single, “Changes,” “We have to make a change/ It’s time for us as a people to start making some changes/ Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live/ And let’s change the way we treat each other/ You see the old way wasn’t working, so it’s on us to do what we have to do to survive.”



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of FIU Student Media Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.


Image retrieved from Flickr.

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