The #BlackLivesMatter movement has been ongoing in America for years, and the number of black people who have lost their lives is tragically growing.
On May 25th, 2020, George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis because he was SUSPECTED of forgery. His death sparked another outcry from the black community and a demand for justice and action.
The death of George Floyd was a result of systematic oppression against black individuals in America. Police officers are meant to serve and protect, not scare and kill American citizens.
I am from Ontario, Canada, and many people assume Canada is better: that the same police brutality and racial oppression doesn't exist here.
That was until May 27, when Regis Korchinski-Paquet allegedly fell off her 24-story balcony after police were called to her apartment in Toronto. Her family released many statements and videos to the Internet explaining how she would never attempt suicide and that her fall from the balcony is highly suspicious.
Soon after, many Internet users came together and signed the petition to demand justice for Regis, and a protest in Toronto occurred on May 30. The Internet is bringing media attention to her case and is demanding that law enforcement officials have a transparent investigation as to what really occurred in her apartment.
As a white person in North America, both of these deaths absolutely shocked me.
I felt disgusted by the police, utter sadness for the lost lives, their families, communities and rage at our society for ever allowing this to happen.
Just last year, my best friend, a black woman, and I, were driving in my car. More cases of police brutality in America were in the news and on the Internet, specifically the videos depicting black citizens being pulled over and intentionally harassed by the police.
She said something to me that still disturbs me to this day.
She told me, "I'll feel safe if we get pulled over because you're white."
The fact that this was something she was feeling in 2019 shows how far behind we are in society.
It shows that white supremacy, racism and white privilege are still at a forefront.
The countless riots, protests and calls for action from the black community should be taken seriously by law enforcement and government officials.
Instead, the peaceful protesters were met with tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and arrests. The protesters are risking their lives, not just from the threat of the pandemic, but from law enforcement as well.
It's not just in America: the oppression of black people is happening in Canada, and we need everyone to see it. All of North America NEEDS to start listening to and valuing the experiences, voices and perspectives of black citizens.
They shouldn't have to fear for their lives.
They shouldn't have to resort to riots and looting to get attention to this cause.
We need to make a change.
I am not black, but I see you.
I am not black, but I hear you.
I am not black, but I mourn with you.
I am not black, but I will fight for you.