This Isn’t Finished: The Fight for Justice & Equality

 

I must begin by saying that I am white, and I understand I will never truly understand what it is like to live as a black person. However, I am an ally to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. 

I listen to people’s experiences and empathize with them. 

Within the past year or so, I have started to point out and correct other people’s stereotypes and hate speech.

I educate myself, and I am always open for new things to learn.

Protesters with

Growing up, I took my white privilege for granted because I never realized I had it. When I thought of privilege, I thought it meant living a luxurious lifestyle; my family always lived paycheck-to-paycheck, barely scraping by. 

Now, I realize that white privilege means not having to worry about being harassed, assaulted or killed based on the color of my skin. If I get pulled over by a cop, the worst thing running through my mind is the potential for an expensive ticket to be issued. If I am walking in a park after hours, I would only be worried because my anxiety spikes when I speak to people of authority. I wouldn’t have to worry about being shot. I can live my life without the fear of being killed by those supposed to protect me. 

 

Black Lives Matter sign holders, protesters

When I learned about bullying in school, I was always taught that it is just as bad being a bystander and doing nothing as it is being the bully. Now is the time for me to stop being a silent bystander. It is time for me to speak up against the bully and stand up for the oppressed. 

George Floyd was murdered by officers of the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25, 2020. Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck while Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. Meanwhile, two other officers, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, kneeled on other parts of Floyd’s body, and one officer, Tou Thao, watched. 

All four officers involved in Floyd’s death have been fired. Chauvin has been “charge[d] of second-degree murder, in addition to the original charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter with culpable negligence.” His first court appearance was June 8, and he was given a conditional bail of $1 million. 

It is just as bad being a silent bystander as it is being the bully; that is what we are taught growing up. BLM wanted all four of the police officers to be held accountable. As of right now, the other three officers involved in Floyd’s death have been charged with “aiding and abetting second-degree murder while committing a felony, and with aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter with culpable negligence.” 

 

BLM Peaceful Protesters, holding signs

 

The other thing BLM wants is for black people to be able to live peacefully without facing discrimination. 

Since Floyd’s murder, BLM peaceful protests have taken place across the United States and even in other countries as people call for justice and equality. With powerful signs and courageous hearts, thousands of people are taking their voices to the streets. I am taking my voice to the platform that I know best: right here.

 

George Floyd memorial mural

There are many ways to fight racism, and we need to do it now.

There is one thing in which Minnesotans excel; it is the “Minnesota Goodbye.” Basically, it means that we are going to be here for a while because we aren’t going anywhere until our story is heard and our fight is finished.

Slavery officially ended in 1865. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka ruled that racial segregation was unconstitutional in 1954. However, we are only at the beginning in the fight for equality.

Love sign

Yes, all lives do matter, but we first need to pay attention to the lives that are in danger—black lives—because black lives matter. No matter your background, we are in this together because this isn’t a fight for one political side. This is a fight for humanity.