What It’s Like Living Through a Revolution

Disclaimer: The opinions stated in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

George Floyd’s unjust murder was the breaking point of accumulated rage. Witnessing a racist, trigger-happy police officer, that is supposed to protect the citizens of the city they serve, kneel on Floyd’s neck for seven straight minutes, leading him to die of asphyxiation was the catalyst that recharged all the dormant fury that people had for years. Not that police brutality is justified in any way, shape or form, but the fact that Derek Chauvin (the officer that murdered Floyd) took it upon himself to try Floyd’s alleged crime of using a fake $20 at a nearby bodega, all the while the $20 was real and he was innocent, says enough about why people are enraged at what occurred. 

There is a protocol for how officers are meant to respond to situations like these. They are supposed to trace back the origin of the forged bill, and harmlessly detain and process the person in question, who would then be presented in front of a judge who decides whether they committed a crime or not. Not only did Chauvin and the other three officers break protocol, but they didn’t even give Floyd the chance to explain himself and be freed from any allegation of a crime that he never committed to begin with. 

This unjust and heinous crime against Floyd sparked a revolution in the United States, causing people to take to the streets in protest of the atrocious yet constant behavior of white cops against Black civilians, and these protests occasionally turned into riots which happened due to police instigation and escalation of situations. While people were peacefully protesting, police officers began shooting at them, ramming cars into them, killing them, unjustly and violently detaining them, destroying their supplies and destroying and vandalizing other items such as police cars and buildings to pin it on the protesters and paint them as violent. In situations like this, it makes you think: who are these cops really working for? 

Police officers are supposed to be working for the people, protecting them, ensuring their safety and acting as their first line of defense. When we see our very own officers acting against us, beating on us and killing us, we feel betrayed and robbed. It doesn’t make any sense, the way these same officers that are there for our safety are beating on people at protests with such violence and rage, it is impossible to write it off as, “they’re simply doing their job,” which is what police sympathizers love to say. A police officer’s job shouldn’t entail murdering people in cold blood, beating them, shooting them with extremely harmful rubber bullets, and spraying them with chemicals that target your respiratory system, especially while we’re facing an extremely spreadable disease, COVID-19, that attacks that same respiratory system. 

no justice no peace protest sign Photo by Clay Banks from Unsplash

Living in Tallahassee, Florida, it’s inspiring to see so many people protesting and speaking up for their rights. We will not be silenced any longer. Being extremely active on social media, constantly signing petitions and sharing those links, fundraising and donating money, and speaking up and exposing any racist or bigoted people you know are some of the ways to be able to participate and truly make a change. It truly saddens me, though, that even though I don’t have the biggest following on Instagram and Twitter, those same platforms actually censored me and prevented me from posting a video where I explained what is meant by the hashtag ACAB, which completely baffled me because that is an infringement on my first amendment right. 

While I was extremely disappointed, I was not surprised. The way people in power, especially the president of the United States, are dealing with the situation at hand is actually repulsive. The president and most mayors are more concerned with the looting of material objects and vandalizing of multi-million dollar corporations (which are 100 percent insured, by the way) than the actual loss of human life at the hands of police officers and the systematic racism that millions of people face on a day to day basis. Take a one-stop visit to Donald Trump’s twitter account and you will see how he is unafraid to use racial slurs and officially allow and deploy the national guard and other military branches into American cities. He also grants people with guns the right to shoot at people that they believe are causing disruptions. This is what we mean by Trump’s America is racist America. He is allowing people that are as trigger-happy as those cops are to shoot at anybody that they believe is causing harm, which is not only subjective but also absurd. He is also giving cops full jurisdiction to act however they want, which is literally the root of the problem. 

#ACAB stands for all cops are bad/b*stards. This hashtag has sparked so much controversy because people refuse to believe that all cops are bad. Now obviously, we are all adults who understand that not every single police officer has committed heinous crimes, but the fact that so many people remain silent to protect their colleagues and choose to work for an institution that they know practice institutionalized racism is the reason why this hashtag is so prominent. By saying all cops are bad, nobody is negating your good experiences with police encounters. We are merely highlighting that the system itself is corrupt and must be reformed for the safety of our communities. That’s why the Blue Lives Matter movement is also irrelevant and demeaning. It was created as a mockery of the Black Lives Matter movement, and people argue that cops’ lives matter as well. The gag of it all is you CHOOSE to become a police officer; you CHOOSE to work for an industry that practices systematic racism. You don’t choose the skin color you are born with. You don’t choose to be black; and therefore, the target to numerous hate crimes and systematic racism. 

The same thing goes for the US military. When we say everyone in the US military is bad, it’s because the military is known to have committed atrocities in foreign countries, specifically the middle east, and that causes any good deed a person in the military has committed to become invalidated. By being in the military, you are supporting people that have systematically destroyed countries for political gain; have pillaged, raped and left innocent citizens in foreign countries for dead; and infringe on basic human rights of innocent human beings of the countries they invade. Being a US marine, you are literally paid to kill people. Your job is to murder people. At what cost? No cause will ever justify the murdering of people in cold blood. Also, this isn’t just a tangent that I exclusively believe in, many ex-military people agree that the US military is one of the world’s biggest evils. 

This is no longer a moment, it’s a movement. We must not stop protesting and demanding  fundamental change once “this all blows over.” We can’t keep turning a blind eye to injustices just because we “want things back to normal.” Your normal is someone else’s day-to-day nightmare. So, I am going to continue fundraising. I’m going to continue donating and signing petitions. I’m going to continue protesting. I’m going to continue my activism campaign on social media and keep the conversation of the demand for change going. Are you? 

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