America is burning.
Decades of injustice, violence, racism and white supremacy have fueled the flames that are bringing people to the streets to demand justice and accountability.
White privilege has always been used as a weapon against minorities, be it Amy Cooper retaliating by calling the cops on Christian Cooper for asking her to follow rules or Ahmaud Arbery being murdered for jogging in his neighborhood.
These are not isolated incidents.
Countless black lives are lost daily to police brutality.
Police brutality and state complacency have shown how little black lives matter. How these lives are reduced to a viral hashtag and public uproar that dies down, succumbing to the deep roots of racism. It is not enough to act only when these names become hashtags and videos become viral. These movements often leave out the loss of other lives that are never brought to justice because they were not caught on tape.
Black people cannot tune out the news cycle when it is their daily reality. They fear that their family and friends may lose their lives by being at the wrong place at the wrong time. They face harassment and questioning every time they see a cop. The color of their skin determines how they are treated, overshadowing their job, education, qualification and achievements.
Protestors joining forces and marching in the streets refuse to tolerate government and state complacency. These marches have shown that even in the face of public outcry, police brutality and force continue, fueled in part by President Trump referring to protestors as “terrorists” and “thugs.”
Protests that turn into violent riots benefit no one, and yet some of these rioters are victims of a system that has pushed them to the point where they have nothing to lose. If we choose to focus on property damage over the lives lost, we are equally to blame for why things are the way they are.
Most of us are protected by our race and will never comprehend what it’s like to have a target on our back from the day we are born, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be allies for the black folks. They need us now more than ever to stand beside them for their rights and fight for justice. For once we can use our privilege to demand accountability.
By choosing to speak only when innocent lives have been lost, our silence abets violent oppression. Black Lives Matter is bigger than a social media trend, it is a movement to uproot racism. To ensure that color does not determine worth.
It is not enough to celebrate black lives one month a year or stand up for equal rights only when innocents are murdered. We must hold ourselves and others accountable until no lives are lost. Long after we forget and move on with our daily lives, black people remember. They do not have the luxury to forget half a century of oppression and injustice.
They stand trial by fire to prove themselves every single day.