As protests in the United States, Canada, and Europe rage on against police brutality–and the Black Lives Matter message is chanted through the streets, painted on countless signs, and felt across social media platforms–police throughout the U.S. are answering these protests in drastically different and polarizing manners.
In some cities, as calls for justice grow louder, protests are met with increasing force. From rubber bullets to tear gas, from rioting and looting, tension and violence has risen to new heights between police and protestors.
However, in other cities, police have met these protestors with understanding, a want for change, and a want for a better future.
These law enforcement officers are being praised on social media for standing [and kneeling] in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter and #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd movements.
In Michigan, Flint’s Sheriff Chris Swanson took off his helmet, put down his baton and shared an inspiring message of unity:
“The only reason we’re here is to make sure you got a voice–that’s it… We want to be with y’all, for real. I took my helmet off, laid the batons down. I want to make this a parade, not a protest.”
In response, the protestors chanted, “walk with us, walk with us”–and the police of Flint did just that. They–both police and protestors–walked together.
In California, Santa Cruz’s Police Chief Andy Mills and Mayor Justin Cummings took a knee during the peaceful protest.
Santa Cruz’s police department tweeted: “SCPD is fully supportive of peaceful protests [in the] @CityofSantaCruz and we always keep them safe. Hundreds gathered on Pacific Ave in #SantaCruz, taking a knee together in memory of George Floyd & bringing attention to police violence against Black people. PhotoCredit @Shmuel_Thaler“.In other cities across the country, officers also opted to kneel, while some marched alongside protestors and held up signs of solidarity. Though there is still much to be done in the name of peace and equality, within these dark days, it is nice to see some hope shine through and a want for change coming from these police officers who choose to march, kneel, and stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Not all police are bad–and as we’ve clearly seen–not all are good. But good officers need to take a stand and hold those who do not uphold their duties to protect EVERYONE accountable for their actions.
“Now is the time to plot, plan, strategize, organize, and mobilize,” said Killer Mike, an American rapper, at the Atlanta mayor’s press conference.
It’s time for change. It’s time for understanding and education. It’s time to be anti-racist.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
To learn more about the Black Lives Matter movement, we urge you to visit blacklivesmatter.com.
To help fund racial justice and learn more about where to donate, visit: Minnesota Freedom Fund, Black Visions Collective, Reclaim The Block, Campaign Zero, Unicorn Riot, and George Floyd Memorial Fund.
“The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.” – Scott Woods
It is everyone’s responsibility to educate themselves on social justice and systemic racism. It is our duty to recognize this broken system and dismantle it. It is time to stop justifying unjust behaviour by those in positions of power. #BlackLivesMatter