Sean Bell was gunned down by four police officers the morning of his wedding and when they were charged with manslaughter, the officers were acquitted and simply forced to resign. The murder of Oscar Grant by a transit officer was recorded by bystanders and, in this case, the jury ruled in favor of the BART officer. Aiyana Stanley-Jones, a 7-year-old, was sleeping on the couch when a grenade was thrown through the window, police officers stormed into the home and one of them shot and killed her. Mike Brown, a teenager from Ferguson, Missouri, was shot six times after putting his arms up in surrender. The common denominator between these people is that they were all unarmed and black.
The focus for many news outlets when it comes to what is happening in Ferguson is the looting of local stores. However, this is a distraction and completely leaves out the real story, which is about Mike Brown, a young person preparing to go off to college, whose life ended at the hands of a police officer. Mike Brown is now a part of an exceedingly long list of black people who have been unarmed and murdered by white police officers. To add insult to injury, their names are dragged through the mud and those responsible for their deaths are rarely convicted.
Soon after his death, fake photos and misinformation meant to shed a bad light on Brown were spread on the internet. All of the sudden he became a thief and had a violent demeanor, due to a video allegedly showing him stealing a pack of cigarettes from a store. After Travyon Martin died, he became a thug because of a couple of photos. Whether these things are true or not, which I doubt wholeheartedly, none of it is ever justification for an execution.
Race is the main component in all of these cases, including Mike Brown’s. It has nothing to do with the way we dress, the way we talk or act, it’s about the color of our skin. The fact that so many human beings are losing their lives because of it proves that racism still exists in this country and we have to not only talk about it but do something about it. Ignoring it or claiming to be “color blind” will not end racism or stop this from reoccurring.
There are a few petitions and ways to donate and help the people of Ferguson. For those interested in these links or who know of any other efforts being made to help make a change, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.