By Capalitana Little
This year, Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter has been a notable topic of discussion. Despite the slave revolts that date back to the 1600s, the Civil Rights Movement some three hundred years later, and the recent global protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, some people in America are oppressed and have been for centuries. Obviously, all lives matter but on the other hand, Black lives are undervalued in America. For this reason, the Black Lives Matter movement was organized to bring centralized attention to police brutality, judicial injustices and other social disparities against the black people that does not affect other nationalities in America.
On May 25,2020 George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American male was gruesomely murder by four police officers in Minneapolis. It all began when a store clerk alleged George Floyd used a counterfeit $20.00 bill in his store. When cops arrived, George Floyd was arrested, hand cuffed and stretched out face down on the street pavement. This is where he met his fate.
Although he was properly restrained with his hand cuffed behind his back, white Police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for a total of 8 minutes and 46 seconds. In addition, Officer Chauvin’s partners knelt on George Floyd’s back and legs at the same time. Mr. Floyd in turn begged for his life in agonizing pain for air to breath saying repeatedly “I can’t breathe.” He even asked to simply be stood up.
Sadly, George Floyd prayed for the help of his deceased mother who passed away on the same day of May 25th years earlier. However, his desperate pleas for life were disregarded. A fourth officer stood by preventing onlookers from intervening in this despicable crime being carried out by “law enforcement officials.” After the highly disturbing video detailing the moments of George Floyd’s murder went viral on social media, protests quickly spread across the United States of America and internationally. Once again protesting against the mistreatment and killings of black people. Unfortunately, George Floyd’s name has been added to the long list of names in the unjustified killings of a black human being at the hands for law enforcement. The officers have since been arrested, bailed out of jail and are awaiting trial. As the world waits the George Floyd verdict, The Black Lives Matter movement and protesters are now reluctantly coping with the misjustice of the Breonna Taylor verdict.
On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor a 26-year-old African-American woman was shot to death while sleeping in her Louisville, Kentucky home. Four white Louisville Metro Police Officers busted into her home during a botched raid. To make matters worse, the search warrant the police were executing was for a person who was already incarcerated. Although the cops claimed they knocked before forcing entry, several neighbors stated they heard no knock at all. Breonna Taylor’s startled boyfriend who is licensed to carry a firearm, thought their home was being invaded and fired the gun at them. thinking that the officers were unknown intruders. The four white officers fired 32 shots in Breonna Taylor’s hallway fatally shooting her six times. These Louisville, Kentucky cops recently were all vindicated on all the murder charges. However, one officer was charged with shooting into the neighbor’s house. Breonna Taylor’s death and the non-indictment is another travesty of justice bought upon the black community. The Black Lives Matter movement addresses the issue of systematic racism that continues to plague the United States of America.
Moreover, the Black Lives Matter movement is not excluding other racial groups. They actually need and embrace other racial support groups to bring awareness to the systematic inequalities that black people deal with on a daily basis. The movement is standing for justice and accountability when usually white police officials unlawfully kill or abuse their authority against black human beings. In addition, to the so called “neighborhood watch groups” that kill and harass black people without any legal ramifications as well. For example, in 2012, George Zimmerman, a white “neighborhood watch” volunteer shot and killed Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old teenager in Sanford, Florida. Yet, the judicial system legally justified the murder of Trayvon Martin using the Stand Your Ground Law. Trayvon Martin, who was watching the NBA playoffs went to the store to get a juice and candy. Upon returning home from the store, he was racially profiled by George Zimmerman, shot, and killed. Even though George Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder, he was acquitted of all charges in his racially motivated heinous crime.
Furthermore, in 2012 in the same state of Florida, the same Stand Your Ground Law was rejected when an African American woman named Marrisa Alexander tried to use it in her defense trial. She was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for firing a warning shot at her physically abusive husband. However, she was sentenced to 20 years in prison under Florida’s minimum sentencing guidelines for using a firearm. Her husband was not killed unlike Trayvon, so why was she being judged so harshly. Judicial proceedings like Marrisa Alexander and the Trayvon Martin case having legal prejudice is not constitutional. These laws have to be changed.
In my opinion, The All Lives Matter Movement feels there is no systematic racism that the judicial, police, correctional, and financial institutions in America are managed without bias and prejudices. Also Asian, Black, White and Hispanic people are all viewed and dealt with the same in American society. This is simply not true. African Americans are subjected to unfair and unjust practices that other nationalities do not experience in this country. If All Lives Mattered, there would not be a debate.