The revolution starts within: Honoring George Floyd


Lojuanda Weary/The Lion's Roar

The death of George Floyd has sparked outrage and grievance around the world, evolving into the largest civil rights movement in history.

Out of all the scenarios I expected to witness in my lifetime, I never thought I would watch a man plead for his life.

I’ve been sitting here emotionally distraught and physically exhausted, trying to find the right words. How do I formulate my agony into words? Not a day goes by that I don’t think about George Floyd’s final moments. The sound of Floyd calling “mama” will stay with me for the rest of my life.

This is the world where love conquers all?

If so, I am ashamed. I am ashamed that, in the home of the brave, so many people are left drowning in fear. I am ashamed that this nation’s standards of “freedom” are set so low for people of color.

What happened to Floyd was far from the first incident, but his death was the tipping point. His death sparked a global awakening, and now the world we live in will never be the same. What happens next is entirely up to us.

Campaign Zero has officially launched #8CantWait, a list of eight policies that, when combined, have the power to reduce police violence in the United States by up to 72%. What are we waiting for?

The list includes policies such as “require all force to be reported” and “exhaust all alternatives before shooting.” It also calls for banning choke holds and requiring de-escalation.

Am I the only one deeply saddened that these policies, which are blatantly common sense, are not already required by all law enforcement?

Even with these policies in play, we still have to attack this issue at a deeper level. Racism runs deep. We cannot change a racially biased system overnight, but we can control who we allow behind a badge.

Prince Ea, an American motivational speaker, said it best: “There is no place for ‘bad apples’ in a career that’s life or death.”

Read that again. There is no place for them. Just as you would not tolerate a few bad pilots or a few bad surgeons, we cannot tolerate even a few bad cops.

No one should die at the hands of someone else’s incompetency, but sadly, it happens all the time.

Head over to Mapping Police Violence and see that there were only 27 days in 2019 where police did not kill someone.

Despite being only 13% of the population, black people were 24% of those killed. Out of approximately 1,000 police killings that occur per year, 99% have not resulted in the police officer being charged.

These are real statistics. This is real life.

Let’s put our pride aside. Let’s take a break from political agendas. This is more than politics. This is about human rights, and we are failing each day that we choose to ignore the reality in which other people live. Our grievances matter.

People have been grieving in many ways, and you have every right to not agree with them all.

I know someone is waiting for me to say it, so I will: looting is wrong. What more do you want me to say? I wish it never happened, but I also wish people did not have to burn buildings just to get the attention they deserve.

I will not let looting and rioting be at the forefront of this conversation.

This nation is quick to extinguish looting whenever it occurs. That’s great, but what are we going to do to break the cycle? What are we going to do to prevent innocent people from dying?

Patching up holes will not save a rotting house.

If people choose to love a nation without choosing to acknowledge its flaws, that is not real love. That is merely the infatuation of their delusion. That is the bliss of their own ignorance.

Do not let the delusion of others discourage you. Real love will always have the upper hand.

Real love is the reason my white friends say black lives matter. My Asian and Hispanic friends say black lives matter. Real love is the reason strangers are marching together, embracing one another.

Yes, not everyone will be awakened by this. Not everyone cares. There will always be people more outraged about property damage than years upon years of meaningless murder, and you know what? Make your peace with them. Stop wrecking your brain over them.

This is the largest, most widespread civil rights movement of all time. That is the product of real love. George Floyd gave us a blessing, and we cannot not dishonor him by wasting it.

When Floyd’s name is written into history books, and your children ask what you did, what will you be able to say to them? Who will you be?

Silence is a luxury. I do not want to look back and say I did nothing, nor do I want to be bitter for the rest of my life.

I am angry, but I will put that anger to good use. I will put that energy towards my education. I will put it towards my job. Pausing my excellence will not make the world a better place, so I will do the opposite. I will do whatever I can to thrive in this world so that generations after me can thrive in better circumstances.

The revolution starts from within. That is real love, and rest assured, love will win.