On Sunday evening, after 11 days of protest in Minneapolis and cities across the globe, it was announced that the Minneapolis Police Department would be disbanding. The disbandment marks perhaps the most significant result of protest yet. However, the impact has been felt across the country:
- The mayors of LA and NYC announced budget cuts to their respective police departments, reallocating funds to social services.
- George Floyd’s killer, Officer Derek Chauvin was arrested, and his charges were upgraded to second-degree murder.
- Officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane, accessories to the killing, were also arrested and charged.
- House and Senate Democrats unveiled the Justice in Policing Act, legislation that would ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, two techniques that led to the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
- The GoFundMe page set up for George Floyd, received the most donations of all time, raising more than $13m, surpassing its original $1.5m goal.
Huge strides toward justice and long-term sustainable change have been made in such a short period; however, these protests against police brutality have just scratched the surface of systemic racism.
Housing, education, healthcare, jobs, and the portrayal of Black people in the media are some of the other institutions that require acknowledgment and reform of the racism that has permeated it.
The dismantling of systemic racism is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep educating yourself on the issues, sharing and discussing what you are learning, and staying humble in understanding and deconstructing the narratives you’ve been told. Remember, the work we do now lays the foundation for future generations.
As news came out that the remaining three police officers responsible for the death of George Floyd had been arrested and charged, there was a realisation that the protests had transcended to a new level.
This movement is greater than the officers who participated in the murder of George Floyd, and greater than the constant lack of accountability by police departments in holding officers responsible for their brutality. It is about the entire system – a system that condones and perpetuates racism.
Primary media sources consistently paint the protests and the protesters in a way that does not do justice to the values that echo on the streets every day: “Unity, Power, Love, and Progress”
Earlier in the week, the Mayor introduced a city-wide curfew of 8pm, to little effect. The peaceful marches this week have stretched well beyond curfew, and as a result, so do the repugnant police tactics, countless arrests, and the continued infringement on citizens’ constitutional rights.
But as they say, “No Justice, No Peace.”
It has now been 10 days since four members of the Minneapolis Police Department murdered George Floyd. In the days since then, daily protests have spread to all 50 states and cities around the world. People are calling for justice, and a dismantling of the system, built on racism, that allows for murders like this to continue and those responsible not be held accountable.
These protests have afforded people a way to express collective grief, anger, and perhaps most importantly, unity and solidarity. Not only in presence but in messages showcased on their signs.
“I Can’t Breathe”
“No Justice, No Peace”
“Black Lives Matter”
“White Silence = White Violence”
“Say Their Names”
“Defund The Police”
These are a few of the powerful messages that will be written into the history books, the same ones that the next generation will look upon when having to learn whether or not these efforts inspired the change that is so desperately needed in this country, and across the world.
So, let these words be your rallying cry for solidarity and change.
Eric Garner. Sandra Bland. Philando Castile. Freddie Gray. Terence Crutcher. Alton Sterling. Walter Scott. Tamir Rice. Michael Brown. Breonna Taylor. And now George Floyd.
After George Floyd’s tragic, avoidable, and all too familiar death at the hands of Minneapolis police on Monday, protests have broken out in at least 140 cities across the United States, demanding justice and calling for the end of police brutality – especially the systemic targeting and disregard of black and brown people.
In New York, peaceful protesters took to the streets across all five boroughs, shutting down avenues, blocks, and highways. The message was one of anger, helplessness, and, most importantly, unity. People are sick of the brutality, sick of the targeting of people of colour by the police, and sick of the systemic racism that continues to uphold and protect the people and the institutions that perpetuate it.
The NYPD was swift and methodical in its response, boxing in groups of protesters, shoving them with batons, charging at them, and slamming countless protesters to the floor before carting them off in police vans.
The police were the aggressors, not the protestors.
As police continued to corner groups, protesters’ collective anger boiled over – NYPD vehicles were taken out, chanting grew into a roar, and officers arrested protesters with a level of brutality that only fanned the flames of anger. The protest continued well into the night, and will likely continue until there is lasting change.