Do all lives really matter in America? If you log into any social media account today, your timeline is likely filled with a barrage of videos of shootings or instances of police brutality happening around the country. Some say it is simply a time where cops must swiftly react out of fear of the unknown. But for many minorities, police officers on the other side of a quick trigger is reminiscent of the nation’s Civil Rights era. Now, instead of using dogs, nightsticks, water cannons or gassing men and women, individuals are being killed in front of viewers’ eyes. As Colin Kaepernick so passionately stated after the Alton Sterling killing, “This is what lynchings look like in 2016!”
In the wake of the murder of Alton Sterling who was shot outside of a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the online publication, Mic, posted a cryptic video and article listing the 23 everyday things that could cost you your life if you’re Black in America. Within moments, it went viral, and the Black Lives Matter campaign re-erupted.
Unfortunately, the video was soon to be followed by another posting on Facebook as Diamond Reynolds live streamed the death of her boyfriend, Philando Castile, a registered gun owner shot four times by police officers in Minnesota while reaching for his firearm permit. The young man, who had no criminal history, was supposedly following the police officer’s requests. According to CNN, Reynolds four-year-old daughter sat in the back seat of the vehicle as Castile slumped over and died.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
In the Syracuse.com video, Reynolds can be heard politely responding to a seemingly frantic officer who holds his gun on Castile, who is in the passenger seat. Moments later, she realizes that her boyfriend is dying. His life was taken over a broken tail light.
“Please don’t tell me this, Lord. Please, Jesus, don’t tell me that he’s gone. Please don’t tell me that he’s gone. Please, officer, don’t tell me that you just did this to him. You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.”
These events are only a few short days after Jesse Williams, an actor on the hit series, Grey’s Anatomy, made his speech at the BET Awards that brought the audience to their feet. He reminded them that Black Lives Matter and more has to be done to make officers de-escalate events, not resort to killing those who have not been arrested, tried or convicted.
“Now, this award – this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country – the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do…Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people everyday. So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours….yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday so I don’t want to hear anymore about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on 12 year old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better than it is to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Dorian Hunt…the thing is that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real. Thank you.”
So, many are taking to Twitter and Facebook to ask what do we do now?
After the deaths of Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray and several others, many marched in the streets to show their unity and ask for equal treatment from the justice system. Often, those actions ended shortly after they began, and the media reports fizzled while suggesting that America was again at peace. Instead, the inhumane behavior of other countries filled the headlines.
Today, as we report All Lives Matter in America, many sit infuriated and scared, like comedian D.L. Hughley, who asked, “Where are the gun rights activists” for Philando Castile or others who have shown sympathy for other groups time and time again. While the cries of tired minorities may be seen on social media feeds, no answers have come.