By: Asia Coleman (Sophomore)
Go back to 1955, you are in a family grocery store and out of nowhere a white woman accuses a 14-year-old African-American of whistling and making sexual remarks at her. The next day he is kidnapped, shot in the head, tied with barbed wire to a fan and thrown in the river. After hearing all of it, and getting a confession, there was no punishment. If this were to happen today, how would you react? How would the punishment change?
Emmett Till (as described above) was killed and left with no justice which helped spark the civil rights movement in the 1950s.
Emmett Till’s story is not too different from many of the stories we read in recent news articles. Trayvon Martin (17), Laquan Mcdonald (17), Tamir Rice (12), Michael Brown Jr. (18) and multiple other cases of police brutality are multiplying each year. It is to the point where African Americans are scared every time they get pulled over. They are angry every time a black teenager dies. Unlike in the 1950s, we now have a voice.
The story of Trayvon Martin, which sparked the Black Lives Matter protest, is where it all began. Trayvon was followed by a neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, in Sanford Florida. Shortly after, he was shot and killed. Six weeks later, Zimmerman was arrested and tried for second-degree murder.
There was a documentary about Trayvon Martin that told the story of his life and who he was. Even Donald Trump and Barack Obama weighed in on the issue. Obama states, “And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids.”
After hearing the statements Obama made about Zimmerman, some people said that the president was “overreaching”. They thought Zimmerman was being treated unfairly.
While that was happening, stories about Trayvon Martin were being put out making him seem like the bad person. Saying that he was skipping school, vandalizing and smoking weed. Trying not to make him seem like the “perfect smiling angel” people shaped him out to be.
One year later came the upbringing of the Black Lives Matter movement. When Zimmerman was acquitted of the murder of Trayvon Martin, the African American community was in fury. Especially when he sold the gun that he shot Trayvon with.
As the brutality cases were adding up year by year, the anger living beneath the surface was boiling.
July 7th, 2016, five police officers were killed by a sniper in a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas. The shooter stated to police that he was killing white officers as payback for the death of Alton Sterling who was shot by white officers in Louisiana. He also wanted to avenge the death of Philando Castile who was shot and killed on Facebook Live by police in Minnesota.
When I was younger, I didn’t really understand the surface of everything that was happening so I paid no mind to it. As I grew older and really looked into the issue, I now understand the agonizing pain that everyone is feeling. Including myself. Having to lose a family member or friend to a person who has more power than you, is frightening and makes me very angry.
I am glad that Black Lives Matter started because now I feel as though there are people who will stand up for change, even though it might kill them. Being a part of the black community, I like knowing that if I were to be in a brutality case, that justice will not go unserved.
On July 18, 2016, Charles Kinsey was shot in North Miami Florida. This story, in particular, is the most interesting one yet. Although Kinsey did not die, he did suffer from 3 rifle bullets wounds.
Kinsey works at a mental health institution. One of his patients, who had autism, got away and was in the middle of the street playing with a toy car. Once Kinsey came to get him, the police came as well. Kinsey was on his back on the ground to show he was defenseless. In a video, Kinsey was telling an officer, “All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I am a behavior therapist at a group home.” The officer did not inform the police what Kinsey and the police ended up shooting Kinsey 3 times.
Generation after Generation, African Americans are the victims of some type of brutality. Here lays the question, when will the killing end? White or Black. We all bleed the same blood. I believe if we put our differences aside and put the guns down, there would be more control. At least in America.
Your opinions about this topic are very important. What should we change in the world to bring down violence in America? Comment down below.