Just a few days ago, another unarmed Black man was shot by the police. This time his name was Jacob Blake and he was shot seven times in front of his children while he was trying to break up a fight. Blake is now paralyzed from the waist down.
The time before that her name was Breonna Taylor. She was in her home. The time before that it was Ahmaud Arbery. He was out for a run. And the time before that his name was George Floyd and he had a counterfeit $20 bill.
As a result of the string of deaths, the latest being that of Jacob Blake, protests in Kenosha, WI, sparked to stand up against police brutality and the near blatant levels of racism.
During a protest in Kenosha, a gunman armed with an AR-15-style killed two people and injured another. According to the Journal Sentinel, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said this of some people at the protests patrolling with guns:
... people who fashion themselves as belonging to a militia have been patrolling Kenosha's streets in recent nights, but he did not know if the shooter was involved with such a group.
"They're a militia," Beth said. "They're like a vigilante group."
Those citizens patrolling with guns resulted in the death of more people who were speaking up against exactly that: completely unnecessary actions that result in the loss of Black people's lives.
It is now the harsh reality of those protesting on the front lines that they could be the victim of a trigger-happy gunman or they could unnecessarily go to jail simply for being involved in bolstering the message of Black Lives Matter.
It's obvious that real reform of the police and of our society is needed to end senseless deaths from gun violence and to begin to move away from racism.
NBA teams have heard that call and begun to boycott games as they feel not enough is being done while they compete in "The Bubble" in Orlando, FL. And these boycotts have inspired others across the MLB, MLS, and WNBA.
At the end of the day, we are all human beings regardless of the color of our skin. And yet Black people are consistently othered by society, the police force, and racism because of the color of their skin.
If you are a Black person, there are often moments of fear during a routine traffic stop. A white person does not hold that same level of fear because of an implicit privilege the color of their skin holds.
Take NBA player Maurice Harkless for instance. In a tweet, he recounts a story of being stopped by the police:
This story goes a long way in showing that the color of someone's skin is often the factor by which they are treated by the police. The same can be said for Jacob Blake, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and the countless others who lost their lives due to an encounter with the police.
At the end of the day, we are seeing the reality of racism and police brutality that is still alive and well in America, even when we protest, speak up, and attempt to shine a light on it.
The visibility of the problems that the Black community faces is more apparent now than ever before. And as time passes it is becoming more and more obvious that it's time we start to really listen and understand that these stories are not going to stop real reform is made to stop them.
Do you believe police brutality is a systemic problem in America?
If you're wondering about the reality of police brutality against Black people, read this piece.