As the media keeps reminding us, these are unprecedented times. 2020 started with the hopes that the new decade would bring in new, exciting changes. It was a promise of a new beginning. Then the world came to a crashing halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the pandemic came change, though maybe not the change everyone was hoping for. It seemed as if overnight, the everyone was wearing face masks and quarantining themselves at home when possible. Where we used to have plenty, stores were suddenly out of toilet paper, water, cleaning supplies, etc. People are losing their jobs, business are closing, people are worried about family and friends. Our country has been divided into the essential and non-essential employees.
Though COVID-19 has been a horrible, life-altering, uncertain time, one wonderful thing came from it. For a few beautiful moments, our country was united in trying to end this pandemic and united in support of our first responders: Doctors, nurses, EMS, fire fighters, and police.
The uncertainty of a pandemic brought us more unity than our UNITED States has seen in a long time.
Unfortunately, tragically, during the struggle of adjusting to the new norm, something that is unfortunately common happened - four police officers abused their power and carelessly took a life.
From this tragedy there came an uprising. While this uprising was understandable, it in itself was and continues to be a tragedy. Riots continue to mount across the country. Allegedly "peaceful" protests are resulting in assault and deaths. The lives of both police officers and civilians are being violently taken as a result of protests against senseless violence and racism.
It is an unfortunate truth that, no matter how far removed we are from the days of slavery, there remains a substantial racism issue within our country. The issue now arises however from violence being fought with violence - hate being fought with hate.
Black Lives Matter! This is a fact that I would never dispute. No person, no matter their color, ever deserves to be treated in such a cruel, heartless manner. The sad truth is that many of the stories we hear are African Americans being senselessly murdered by police. This has to stop, but so does the ensuing rioting and looting.
Since the homicide of May 25, 2020, the unofficial death toll from resulting riots has been seventeen people. Of these seventeen confirmed deaths, many of the deaths have been of other African American people. Think about that, because of protests and riots to argue the value of black lives, there are black lives being taken. There are human lives of many different races being taken. And this is not the first time. Following the murder of Freddie Gray in 2015, there were riots, protests, and deaths in Baltimore, Maryland.
The violence needs to stop.
The deaths need to stop.
The hate needs to stop.
There is no denying that there are some extremely horrible, racist, power-hungry police officers - that is not the normal. There are many people who have joined the police force because they truly wish to protect and serve people, all people. Still, these are the officers that have to fight for their lives daily due to the ongoing riots.
Assuming all police officers are corrupt racists because of those who commit violent acts of racism is no better than a police officer assuming all African Americans are criminals because of the ones who are.
The recent homicide was a heart-wrenching, senseless act of hatred by corrupt, hateful men. What followed has also been heart-wrenching and senseless acts of violence. Our country is hurting. Hatred has become the pandemic that is killing many of our people and dividing our country.
We need to remember that no matter one’s color, nationality, gender, sexuality, religion, job, social status, etc., we are all part of the human RACE. Racism needs to end and we all need to realize that we are all just humans trying to figure out the race of life together. We need to learn to come together as the human race to support one another. Life is hard and we need each other to make it through the tough times.
We can stop this disease of hatred by joining together in love and healing our country. If we learn to respond to acts of hate with love, we can heal as people and truly become a UNITED country that is thriving rather than just surviving.