Racism & The State of Our World

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George Floyd

In the last 48 hours news of the death of George Floyd has spread like wildfire across the nation. Floyd was a black man living in Minnesota who was murdered when four police officers apprehended him on allegations of forgery, restraining him while one of them knelt on his neck. His death was caught in a 10-minute video filmed by onlookers who were calling for police to let him breathe when he so clearly could not. The video showed perhaps the most blatant disregard for human life that has shown up in footage of this kind to date. Although officers have attempted to spin what happened as related to Floyd resisting arrest, additional footage released on Wednesday shows a man who was largely cooperating. Regardless, there is no possible excuse - and certainly not resistance - that could possibly justify that to which so many of us have now born witness.


Breonna Taylor

Floyd's death comes little more than two months after Breonna Taylor was shot to death in her own apartment. Police raided the wrong address for suspected drug possession, shooting Taylor in her own bed. She was 26-years-old, working as an EMT doing her best to care for sick people as the pandemic worsened.


Ahmaud Arbery

And, Taylor's death was only a matter of weeks after the much publicized shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery who was murdered by two white men (a father and son) in Georgia who claimed he looked suspicious when he was out for a jog. Realistically, we have to know that there is so much other violence and loss we're not hearing about because it wasn't seen as quite "sensational" enough, or wasn't caught on film. Not to mention those moments when violence was threatened against a black or brown person, and luck led things down a different path. This includes the also recently well-publicized incident during which a white woman in New York City's Central Park lied to police that her life was being threatened by a black man - Christian Cooper - who had simply asked her to keep her dog on a leash as required by law.

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Rana Zoe Mungin

Meanwhile, all of this is happening in a world turned upside down by COVID-19. And, research is telling us that black people in the US are three times more likely to die of this virus than most other groups. The mounting losses include Rana Zoe Mungin, a University of Massachusetts alum working as a teacher in New York City. She reported not being taken seriously when seeking medical help, including repeatedly being denied testing. She died on April 27 at the age of 30.

We do not name these facts because we have all the answers. We name them because they need to be named. Because it's too easy to look away, or post a 'Black Lives Matter' sign in a yard, and pretend our work is done. As large corporations, one after the other, spew out messages about us all being "in this together," their words could not sound more hollow. The invisible among us have only been made harder to see, and the scapegoats have become bigger targets.

However, this is not a message of hopelessness. It is a call to action. Our world is in crisis, and its far past time we take it as a learning opportunity that drives us toward change. As we emerge from this pandemic, let us emerge stronger and more determined than ever to build a better world. Only then - when we stop allowing society to treat black and brown bodies as disposable - will we have any right to utter phrases about "togetherness," and the like.

Some ideas:
* Donate to the BET Covid Relief Fund
* Donate to the Know Your Rights Camp COVID Relief Fund
* Donate to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund
* Hold community events on alternatives to calling the police
* As stores re-open, make a point to buy from black-owned businesses
* Support black and other non-white candidates running for office
* Promote black voices by reading and sharing their writing
* Read this article on 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice and do something
* Challenge privilege and white supremacy, including and especially when it shows up in something you yourself do or say

What's your idea?

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