#BlackLivesMatter: The horrific death of George Floyd

#BlackLivesMatter: The horrific death of George Floyd
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He said, “I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days.” He was Nelson Mandela, who fought against racial discrimination all his life, wrestled against such incredible brutalities can be committed simply on the basis of skin colour. He led the movement that successfully abolished apartheid from South Africa and ultimately leading the world to follow a path of non-discrimination.

But how far has the world reached since then?

We are in the 21st century - the modern world, a progressive one! Is it though? Taking into consideration, the very recent events - it tells a totally different and sharply opposite story.

The History:

Progress is the largely suppressed story of race and race relations over the past half-century. When Gunnar Myrdal published ‘An American Dilemma’ in 1944, most blacks lived in the South and on the land as laborers and sharecroppers.

Even if we not bring up what people may say ‘the big old story of slavery’, and look at recent times, African Americans are in no way treated equally in many aspects.

African Americans have always been more vulnerable in the labour market. They regularly experience higher unemployment rates and work in worse jobs, which feature lower pay and fewer benefits, than whites. Moreover, they tend to work in jobs that are less stable than those held by white workers. For example, African American workers often see their unemployment rates go up sooner than white workers when the economy sours and their unemployment rates also take longer to decline when the economy improves than is the case for whites.

And when it comes to brutality, most of the more than 4,400 documented victims of racial terror lynching killed between 1877 and 1950 were killed in the 12 Southern states; Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana were among the deadliest. Several hundred additional victims were lynched in other regions, with the highest numbers in Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, and West Virginia.

The experiences of African Americans murdered and terrorized by mob violence for generations between Emancipation and the struggle for civil rights, alongside the virtual inaction of local and federal law enforcement and lawmakers, lay the groundwork for the inequality and injustice we face today.

Today, we witness the horrific death of George Floyd, 46. George Floyd, an African-American man, died in the Powderhorn community of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He died after being arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Footage of the arrest on 25 May shows a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Mr. Floyd's neck while he was pinned to the floor. While Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on a city street during an arrest, Derek Chauvin, a white American, Minneapolis police officer, kept his knee on the right side of Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds; according to the criminal complaint against Chauvin, 2 minutes and 53 seconds of that time occurred after Floyd became unresponsive.

The white Minneapolis police officer who ordered him to "relax" as the 46-year-old black man gasped, "Please, I can't breathe."

Mr. Chauvin, 44, has since been charged with murder.

Anger over Floyd's death has bubbled over into protests across the United States calling for an end to police brutality and injustice and now those demonstrations have gone global.

The Foundation ‘Black Lives Matter’ too has been protesting and demanding justice for George Floyd and advocating for an end to the violence and injustice inflicted on Black people in the US.

What is the Black Lives Matter Foundation?

Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc. is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.

According to their official forum, by combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, they are winning immediate improvements in our lives.

How did it all begin?

In 2013, the movement began with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin in February 2012. The movement became nationally recognized for street demonstrations following the 2014 deaths of two African Americans- resulting in protests and unrest in Fergusson, a city near St. Louis and Eric Garner in New York City.

Since the Ferguson protests, participants in the movement have demonstrated against the deaths of numerous other African Americans by police actions or while in police custody. In the summer of 2015, Black Lives Matter activists became involved in the 2016 United States Presidential election. The originators of the hashtag and call to action, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometti, expanded their project into a national network of over 30 local chapters between 2014 and 2016.

The Culture of Black Lives Matter Foundation:

  • Black Lives Matter Arts+Culture expands and explores this moment in art culture that is reflective of the 1960s and 1970s when the Civil Rights, Black Power, and Women’s Rights Movements, and efforts to diversify art institutions, dominated the discourse.
  • We disrupt the status quo of the art world by uplifting emerging Black artists who speak audaciously, who are unafraid, and who stand in solidarity with the most marginalized among us. Artists who call on us to change the way we see ourselves and one another. Artists who center love, joy, dignity, and freedom.
  • In addition to uplifting Black artists, the Arts+Culture programs serve as a connection point to educate our communities on the intersection of art, culture, and politics. Through artistic expression and engagement, we will empower our communities, change the landscape, and inspire new realities.

Today, apart from USA, In the United Kingdom, hundreds of demonstrators reported at Trafalgar Square in London, with people kneeling in solidarity at 1 p.m. (local time).

People were seen carrying signs that read, "Justice for George Floyd," "Racism has no place," "Enough is enough," and "Black lives matter." They chanted, "I can't breathe" and "No justice, no peace," and marched to Grenfell Tower.

Recent Developments:

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said that the department is investigating six separate incidents involving officers during protests this past week. Amongst the incidents are one in which an officer pointed a gun at a chaotic crowd in Manhattan and another in which an NYPD cruiser drove into a crowd of protesters in Brooklyn.

Mere blocks from the White House in front of Trump International Hotel, a dozen police officers kneeled in front of the building facing protesters. The crowd at the Trump Hotel responded very positively to the officers' gesture, prompting fist bumps. 

Kneeling is generally a sign of solidarity in opposition to brutality against unarmed black citizens.

The president, who addressed the death of George Floyd during a visit to Florida for the shuttle launch on Saturday, has remained out of sight since, tweeting his thoughts instead of giving any sort of formal address to the nation.

In the wake of these events, never believe that ‘you have nothing to do with any of those’. Discrimination of any kind is a social evil and it takes the unity of the whole village to eradicate it completely. We all must support the movement and the ongoing fight to end such violence and inhuman actions.