By CAROL LI
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this piece are not a reflection of the views of Paw Prints Weekly as a whole. They are the sole views of the author. Paw Prints Weekly celebrates a diverse audience and staff, and it supports the declaration of the duties and rights of a Journalist per the U.S. Constitution.
Amidst many incidents of death due to blatant racism, a movement known as Black Lives Matter used their voices to speak up for the lives lost to injustice.
While on an afternoon jog, Ahmaud Arbery passed by the lawn of Gregory McMichael, who claimed that Arbery appeared to be the man responsible for several break-ins in the neighborhood. After calling his son and grabbing a .357 Magnum handgun, McMichael began chasing Arbery in a pickup truck and killed him on Feb. 23. He was innocent.
After the shooting, district attorney George E. Barnhill did not arrest the McMichael’s, stating that not enough evidence was found. After many district attorneys assigned to the case recused themselves, Cobb County District Attorney Joyette M. Holmes eventually received the case, leading to the arrest of George and Travis McMichael months after the shooting.
Breonna Taylor, an African American medical worker, died from the bullets of Louisville police after a warrant allowed Taylor’s home to be searched for narcotics on Mar. 13.
Later, lawyers indicated that police had already located the suspects for drug dealing ten miles away from Taylor; however, officers still felt compelled to enter Taylor’s apartment in the middle of the night.
With every incident, the Black Lives Matter movement garnered more attention from the country. George Floyd’s death became the last straw on the camel’s back.
A shopkeeper in Minneapolis accused George Floyd of paying with a counterfeit 20 dollar bill, which led to his arrest by police on May 25. Officer Chauvin proceeded to kneel on Floyd’s neck and back, which caused Floyd to repeatedly rasp that he could not breathe and beg for his mother. Eight minutes and 46 seconds later, Floyd’s heartbeat stopped.
According to a post-mortem examination conducted by Dr. Baden, Floyd died from asphyxia (lack of oxygen) and described the death as a homicide.
Outraged by these events, many across the country hit the streets to protest for the lives taken away by racist violence. Over 75 cities organized protests, but looting, tear-gas and fighting turned many peaceful protests into unlawful activities.
In response, President Trump demanded the presence of the National Guard to stop the violence of the protests on Jun. 1. If a city or state refuses to protect its people through the National Guard, Trump will deploy the United States military in those areas.
Essentially, Trump threatened to enforce the Insurrection Act, which allows the president to bring an end to protests through the United States military. The enforcement of this martial law may lead to temporarily removing civil law, civil rights and habeas corpus.
Currently, many news outlets and other platforms broadcast the development of Black Live Matter movement, but this fight for equality is not a new mindset.
Black Lives Matter began gaining momentum immediately after the death of teen Trayon Martin. A Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman killed Martin while he was walking home from the convenience store in 2013. During his trial, the jury acquitted Zimmerman’s charges for second degree murder.
This incident sparked outrage, disappointment and frustration; as a progressive nation that prides itself on equal opportunity for all, how could a situation like this happen?
Martin’s murder became a catalyst for a 31 day protest throughout the state of Florida by organizations POWER U and Dream Defenders. These programs eventually merged into Black Lives Matter movement and continue to advocate for the black community.
In light of recent events, it is extremely important to stay educated and aware of the changes happening now that will create a long lasting impact on our nation’s future. The struggles and discrimination that the black community face today will not be ignored.
Please visit https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#petitions to demand justice for the lives lost to prejudice and reform for the American political system.
To support Black businesses, visit the link here for a list of 181 Black-owned businesses around the United States.