The past few days has been intense. It is nothing new about the issues of racism and inequality of people of color in America. many people my age are either very aware of the situations that have been taking place or blinded by their privilege. I think it is very important to be aware of the society we live in and how other are treated wrongly. Many people have the privilege to walk the streets with no fear where others don't have that. We are taught at a young age to treat people the way we would want to be treated, yet that is far from reality.
One protest that is very important is Black Lives Matter.
Black Lives Matter is a global network dedicated to the "fight for Freedom, Liberation and Justice" for Black communities around the world. According to their website, BLM is a "chapter-based, member-led organization whose mission is to build local power and to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes."
Black Lives Matter first started as a movement in response to the 2012 murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and the subsequent acquittal of his killer, George Zimmerman.
One year later, those involved in the movement began the Black Lives Matter Freedom Ride to Ferguson "in search of justice for Mike Brown and all of those who have been torn apart by state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism." Michael Brown was the victim of a police shooting. His killer also walked free.
For years, millennials and centennials have been using social media to raise awareness for important causes. Most commonly, users will change their profile photo in solidarity to reflect a movement and respond to current events. While the impact of this strategy is not highly documented, it's a simple way for users to show support regardless of their ability to make a tangible change in the moment.
TikTok users have been utilizing the platform to address critical social and political issues since its inception.
Now, users on the world's fastest-growing social media platform have jumped on the bandwagon— changing their profile photos to a picture of a black fist in support of Black Lives Matter.
I believe it is a way for people to show their support and speak out for justice.
On Monday evening in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a grocery store clerk called the police about a customer using a suspected counterfeit bill. When officers arrived, they found George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, in his car and ordered him out. A bystander filmed the ensuing confrontation, which ended with Floyd's face pinned against the ground near the rear of the police car with Officer Derek Chauvin's knee pressed firmly against his neck. "I can't breathe, officer," Floyd said, as bystanders off camera yelled at the officer to let him go. When the officer finally removed his knee, Floyd was unresponsive. He was then transferred to a medical center where he was pronounced dead.
Many see the horrific incident as the latest bout of casually fatal police brutality against Black people in the United States—especially as Floyd's words on camera echo those of Eric Garner, another Black man who was killed in a police chokehold. Floyd's death also follows the recent high-profile deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man shot and killed while he was jogging, and Breonna Taylor, a Black EMT gunned down by the police in her own home.
While the four police officers involved in Floyd's killing have since been fired, the fight for justice continues. Ongoing demonstrations in Minneapolis and other cities like Los Angeles have intensified as protestors stand off against police.
The issue of racism will continue until people become aware and educated about their white privilege.