In 2020, America experienced a momentous time where the number one topic of conversations was race relations. As we reflect from then to now, it is important to acknowledge what has changed and what still needs to be changed.
It has been over a year since the tragic death of Ahmaud Arbery and yet his killers, Travis and Greg McMichael, still await trial as of February 22nd. His killers claim to have acted in self-defense, but what was so threatening about an unarmed black man going for a run? Is it the part about him being unarmed or is it the fact that he was black? I think it is fair to say that the world knows the real answer to that question. What is even more frustrating is that the McMichaels have also put in a request that the prosecution not refer to Ahmaud Arbery as a “victim”; yet that is exactly what he is. Arbery is the victim of a racist America and everyone needs to acknowledge it, recognize it, and hold everyone involved accountable.
Although the media has played an important role in exposing the police brutality and racially motivated murders of black citizens, it is also important that the public be educated on how they can safely act against police brutality. Keep reposting those resources on your Instagram stories and educating your non-POC friends but know that there is always more that can be done. Firstly, hold people accountable for their actions, especially the police. You can do this by getting into contact with your local police department and using your voice to hold them responsible for their actions against the community that they are supposed to protect and serve. Secondly, know what goes on in your community and educate yourself on the punishments for police officers that step out of line. For the Baltimore City Police Department, their code of conduct for their officers can be found by going on the BPD’s website and locating the “Misconduct and Discipline” section. Lastly, as a community, we must be a united front against the oppressive force of police brutality that tries to tear us down. Our passion for acting against the police brutality in our community is the glue that holds us together. We are not just one voice but a collection of voices that have something to say.