Our Viewpoint: Black Lives Matter

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Trayvon Martin. Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Terence Crutcher. These lives mattered. They still do matter.

In case you’re unfamiliar with these names, let me explain.

In 2012, Trayvon Martin was a 17-year- old boy who was shot and killed after buying Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea at a convenience store. George Zimmerman, a man who lived in the same neighborhood as the convenience store was in, took it upon himself to deem Martin suspicious and shot him dead after an altercation.

In 2014, Eric Garner was put into a choke hold by a New York City police officer, while arresting him. As officers kept Garner down on the ground, he reportedly repeated the phrase “I can’t breathe,” while the officers did not let up. Garner was arrested for selling loose cigarettes.

In 2014, Michael Brown was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri after Brown and the officer had an altercation.

Last month, Terence Crutcher was standing in the middle of the road where his car had broken down. As they approached him, police officers said, “That looks like a bad dude, maybe on something.” Crutcher was shot and killed by a police officer.

All four of these people have two things in common: they weren’t armed, and they’re black. These instances are the basis for the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

Many people have dismissed Black Lives Matter (BLM) as a movement that is destructive, pointless and anti-white. But the actual movement is completely opposite. These people are rioting in the streets of their cities because they feel like their race is being attacked; judging by the previous four people mentioned, who were killed unjustly, how can you argue they’re wrong?

You see many call the BLM riots unnecessary and barbaric, but how else are we supposed to notice the injustices being committed each day to black people across the country and the needed outrage?

Recently, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started to kneel during the national anthem as a form of protesting the oppression black people face every day. Critics of Kaepernick state he is disgracing the country and all who have fought for it by kneeling. Basically, when someone protests peacefully, it’s not okay; when someone protests violently, it’s not okay. There is no win for black Americans according to this logic.

In 1998, the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl for the second year in a row. After the win, fans gathered in the streets and fought each other, overturned cars and vandalized property.

In 2011, when former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was fired after Jerry Sandusky was accused, and later convicted, of sexual abuse, people gathered at Penn State University Park’s campus to riot over Paterno’s firing. In the streets, protesters destroyed property, in addition to flipping over a media van. This was over the firing of a coach who knew of instances of sexual abuse.

These riots tells me that our country cares more about sports than it does about racial oppression.

That fact is sickening.

We shouldn’t have black men or women be afraid they’re going to get shot walking to the convenience store. Black families shouldn’t have to tell their sons to be afraid of the police, or anyone for that matter. There is no reason in 2016 that anyone, of any race, should have to live in fear of one another.

In order to change the way things are, we need to stand together to create a
 society that listens to one another, works with one another and helps one another. Unfortunately, our country has become racially divided, but this is not the end. In America, color shouldn’t matter. The fact that we’re all Americans is what we really need to remember.

I never want to worry that my black brother-in-law or my mixed race nephew will get shot for innocently walking down the street. I never want any family to have to go through that again.

The road to recovery for our race relations in America is to work together and recognize that Black Lives Matter.

Our Viewpoint is written by Dakota Palmer, voices editor for The Spectator. The topic is agreed upon by the editorial staff of The Spectator.