This Is Why We Protest

"Black Lives Matter" protests took place in Miami on May 30, 2020. Gustavo Contreras/PantherNOW

Frederic Aurelien/Staff Writer

Today, you will not be able to deem the suffering of millions as exaggeration and cast us under the shadow of your “civil world.” Today, you will not be able to tell me to wait, or to bury my grievances under the heavy weighing feet of your “progress.” Today, you will not be able to ignore another black life murdered on live television, because today, you will see us!

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was murdered in cold blood by police officer Derek Chauvin. Many of us saw the footage of his death, and many of us hugged our loved ones tighter that night.

Protests and riots have inflamed the streets of America, and a seething rage lying deep within the belly of our country has declared itself to be here once more. As police precincts burn and chaos ensues, I can honestly say that this moment has represented a sort of hope for black people throughout America and beyond. 

Gustavo Contreras/PantherNOW

To our white friends who cannot relate to that sentiment, who feel an initial fear or angst in response to that hope, I will do my best to express this emotion in the best way that I know how. FIU may be filled with mostly Hispanic students, but it is a diverse school. I will tell you how many of your black classmates, teachers, co-workers, friends and possibly even lovers feel at this moment. How your silence and your ignorance affect us. 

It makes us paranoid of you. It means that you are capable of watching a black human being be unlawfully murdered by the same people whose sole job is to serve and protect, but you will set these truths to the backburner of your mind for the sake of continuing your regular life.  It means that you have chosen not to care about what happens to people like us, mainly because it is inconvenient for you.

It is maddening that you can be more enraged for the loss of property than the loss of life. It is frankly amazing that you have more energy and passion within you to speak out and condemn these riots, then you do the murder of George Floyd or other black men and women who have been wrongfully killed like him.

George Floyd was murdered without remorse, without dignity and without purpose. The reason this moment gives me hope is because it has proven that this is no longer something the silent majority can choose to just set to the side, or let “blow-over.”

The apparitions of Jim Crow and racism that haunt this country will force us to confront ourselves, and these riots (for better or worse) are the proof of that. 

It is maddening that you can be more enraged for the loss of property than the loss of life.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “a riot is the language of the unheard.” Many white Americans may not be able to understand this language, but I can. 

They say to end the system of mass incarceration that allows the American prison industrial complex to imprison more human beings than any other democratic or totalitarian nation on this planet. A disproportionate number of these prisoners being our fathers, our brothers, our mothers and ourselves. They say to end the extreme health disparities that our communities suffer on a day-to-day basis—the same disparities that it took a global pandemic to make transparent to you. 

They say to end the system of violence that allows black people like Breonna Taylor, Doug Lewis, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery or George Floyd to be murdered in broad daylight. They say enough is enough!

Will these protests and riots be effective in creating any sort of systemic change? I do not know. Will the looting and destruction of society end the looting and destruction of black and brown people in America? I am not sure. What I do know, however, is that we need justice. 

The officer has been arrested, but that is not enough, we need Derek Chauvin to be convicted. Until then, there can be no peace in America. There will only be more pain, sadness and resentment.

Rest in peace, George Floyd. I know that you are not the first black body to be brutalized at the hands of police officers and I also know that you will not be the last. I hope that our struggle can bring some meaning to your death, I hope that this will trigger a movement that does not gradually fade but instead stands the test of time. 

America, our voices must be heard today. Not four years from now, not 40 years from now. Now is the time to seize the moment. Now is the time to act.

DISCLAIMER:

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

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1 Comment on "This Is Why We Protest"

  1. Excellent

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