Cry for Justice: An Awakened America

Cry+for+Justice%3A+An+Awakened+America

Amelia Pollicino

A video emerged from Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25, 2020, that would ignite a spark in many Americans, rekindling a demand for justice. An African American man named George Floyd, aged 46, was brutally murdered by a Caucasian police officer named Derek Chauvin. Arrested on the account of suspected forgery, Floyd was pinned to the ground while the officer kneeled on his neck for a total of eight minutes and 46 seconds. His final words were a staggering, “I can’t breathe.”

The video was soon after released, and it prompted an immediate call for racial justice sparked by the media. Around the nation, millions called for the prosecution of the officers involved, declaring that this was in fact a murder and a clear demonstration of police brutality in the United States. Police brutality is defined as a civil rights violation where officers exercise excessive force against a civilian, thus including but not limited to physical or verbal harassment, physical or mental injury, property damage, and death. Police brutality in African American communities is a symptom of deep systematic inequalities which have been around for decades upon decades. The actions brought upon Floyd by Officer Chauvin and the injustices enacted by the by standing officers through not interrupting and stopping the murder are a precise, lucid depiction of police brutality.

Sophomore Emily Paladino commented, “Personally, I believe it is unfair to make generalizations. About anyone, whether it be based on race, religion, sexual orientation/gender, etc. Although we as a country have come a long way in equality, there obviously is work that still needs to be done. Especially with the recent, tragic murder of George Floyd, racism and boundaries between freedom of speech and protesting have blurred. As a white American, I understand that I will truly never understand how it feels to be African American on the other side of a police car.”

Since the vulgar, horrific event, millions have stepped forward in protest for the cause of racial equality and to put an end to police brutality. Coming after months of restrictions because of the coronavirus outbreak and the economic decline in many American cities, the video of Floyd’s death lit a fire within the oppressed and an immediate outpour of anguish over inequality and mistreatment began to gain traction. The Black Lives Matter movement, or BLM, has been a clear foreseer of the recent protests occurring in cities throughout the United States. “I believe that the Black Lives Matter Movement does tremendous things and I, myself, am a part of the movement. It is truly a group of people that accepts all and fights for their beliefs. I think that all media is biased, some media paints the BLM in a bad light and some paint it in a good light. It is up to the individual to decipher between the two biases and find the truth,” shared senior and activist Djellza Pulatani. However, in spite of thousands of peaceful protesters, somehow the tables turned quickly, and violence once again ensued. Starting in Minneapolis, riots broke out into a frenzy. Destruction, vandalism, and theft began to occur all throughout the bare streets. This did not only occur in Minneapolis, but also in Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Washington D.C., just outside the White House; violence soon became the norm in the dark night. Hundreds woke up the next morning beaten and bruised, tear-gassed and stripped of innocence, and many lost their businesses and their homes, watching their city burn in a fire.

“It is just beyond frightening to see how much destruction and violence can happen in this country overnight. I was terrified watching the news, seeing police cars burning and people breaking windows and stealing from stores. I wholeheartedly believe in peaceful protesting and justice for George Floyd’s loss. I just hope that people are not taking advantage of such a delicate, sensitive movement. How much hate there is in this world just breaks my heart,” said sophomore Kate Dooling.

The actions came after a day when hundreds were arrested across the country as clashes between protestors and police broke out in dozens of states. Instead of standing together in darker times, many on both sides have chosen to stand divided, both sides consisting of warriors seeking their own vision of justice on opposite sides of the issue. National Guard soldiers were just posted in cities such as Atlanta and Minneapolis to help inflict peace between the protestors, rioters, and police officers. Pulatani gave her opinion on the recent rioting: “My opinion on the rioting is very layered. I completely understand the reason for the rioting, and I stand in solidarity with every person protesting and demanding their rights. Historically, riots have been the act that allow for revolution to occur. However, what I will never condone is violence. If we are fighting against the oppressor we should never stoop down to their level. We must rise above. Additionally, I am truly distraught at the fact that some people are bringing bad attention to these protests by looting and robbing stores. It is absolutely disgusting to be using an event like this to personal benefit.”

In the village of Lynbrook, many of us are granted the privilege of safety and security. As a community and a school, learning to understand privilege and how to use voices to help bring a society forward is a key element in helping the world into a state of peace. “I believe in America, and I most definitely believe in the Lynbrook community to be inclusive and understanding of all races. We can do that as a community by holding peaceful press conferences where issues regarding racial inequalities are discussed and molded to benefit the ones who need us most. In school, we should allow for all opinions to be heard and to teach students about privilege and how to talk about sensitive topics respectively,” commented Paladino on the topic of growing as a community from these difficult times.

“I think that Lynbrook High School carries an abundance of privilege and with that privilege comes the responsibility to educate and advocate for racial equality. In my personal opinion, I think that the high school should open up discussion and push boundaries to truly figure out what racial disparities are dormant in its halls. For every child going to any school, it is important that we stress the importance of equality while still celebrating our differences,” stated Pulatani on the education and understanding of privilege in our community. It is widely believed that students today should use their voice and impact to learn more, to further understanding and become an ally for all minority groups. People are now being urged to be the change that they wish to be seen in the world.

One way to help is to text “Floyd” to 55156 to be a part of the change you wish to see. Several other petitions can also be found online.

If you would like to help further in the movements and push towards racial equality, here are some funds to donate to:

The Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter (blmla.org)

Action Bail Fund (afgj.salsalabs.org/actionbailfund)

The Peoples City Council Freedom Fund (gofundme.com)

Black Visions Collective (blackvisionsmn.org)

The Brooklyn Bail Fund (brooklynbailfund.org)

Free Them All for Public Health (freethemall4publichealth.org)

The National Bail Out (nationalbailout.org)

Unicorn Riot (unicornriot.ninja)