Updated: Sep 29, 2020
We all know that one kid that gets bullied by a bigger kid on the playground. He gets pushed down, and punches thrown at him. Every now and then the bully gets reprimanded, but it doesn't stop the bully from continuing the pick on his favorite target. One day, the kid finally stands up to the bully. He punches back. The whole playground is shocked, including the bully. This situation can go several ways: The bully can exert more force, and take out his embarrassment on the bullied victim; the victim gets punished for defending himself; or the bully leaves the victim alone for good.
"Hands up, don't shoot." Child protesting at 2014 Ferguson Uprising in response to the police shooting of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown Jr.
Our justice system is the playground. Racist cops are the bullies. Black and brown people are the bullied. We all have the choice to intervene regardless of the color of our skin. We have the choice to be a bystander or an active participant in the rectification of our society's greatest sins. The time for atonement is now. It's time to punch back. As a society we can decide to follow up with our right hook, or we can be silent and hope for a broken system to take care of the bullies that it created.
Man holding printout of Derek Chauvin's record of misconduct. Unknown source.
Our system could have put Derek Chauvin behind bars and permanently out of a job for previous infractions and numerous complaints about his misconduct behind his badge. Amy Klobuchar, previous presidential Democratic candidate, is currently under scrutiny upon public discovery that she was serving as prosecutor around the time Chauvin was being tried for another murder of Wayne Reyes in 2006. She claims that she had already taken her seat in the Senate, and was not actively serving as prosecutor at the time. George Floyd would still be alive today had Chauvin been punished for his prejudice and misconduct. Chauvin has been charged with 3rd-degree murder and manslaughter, although many believe that he will get off easily despite the heinous nature of his crime. He exerted pressure on Floyd's neck with his knee for 9 minutes, while three other officers stood by and Floyd repeatedly said, "I can't breathe." The public wants the other three officers prosecuted as well.
Protester holding up photo of George Floyd, murder victim of police officer Derek Chauvin.
Floyd's death is another catalyst for racial reckoning, along with Ahmaud Abury, Sean Reed, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and so many more. Racial tension has always been high in this country, but these incidences have brought the disregard for black life to the world's attention. The evidence of injustice is undeniable, and we are forced to look to the source of division.
Minneapolis Riot. Unknown source.
As Navajo Independent Presidential Candidate Mark Charles has stated, the foundations of this country have to be re-examined and corrected to truly include all the people. "We the People," in only refers to white land-owning men. Black men are considered 3/5 of a person, Native Americans are referred to as "noble savages," and women are not mentioned at all. American history is fraudulent discovery and thrived on enslavement of Native and African-descended people. So what about The Murdered People, The Stolen People, The Removed People, and The Forgotten People?
This Great Reckoning is also the Great Unification. In addressing unresolved historical trauma or complex PTSD, we start to examine an ugly festering wound. We have to treat it aggressively and with a team of experts. As we peel back the skin of a dark history, we allow the medicine to come in. We have to resurrect traumas to confront them, so that we can truly heal. We have to tear down, burn, and rage before we can come to an era of peace. Otherwise, the wound will not heal and continue to get re-infected. Flames are destructive, but they are also necessary to allow something greater to rise from the ashes. Before we can be born again, baptized in the river, and delivered from our sins, we have to cauterize the wound. We have to process our pain, guilt, and societal shame.
Black Lives Matter activists have emphasized that this is not an isolated incident, and that we must utilize this momentum to affect sustainable change by voting out stagnant leaders and rising from the ashes as a better society. In the formation of that society, some of us will have to sacrifice privilege to benefit others in the pursuit of equality and true democracy.
The burning of the 3rd Precinct in Minneapolis. Photo from Instagram account: @slate_mk.2