Following the murder of George Floyd, the nation has been consumed by one of the largest shared protests that some of us have seen in our lifetimes.
We must bring our attention to a few things as we observe these demonstrations:
- Civil unrest does not always look like a perfect protest. Instead, it is a meaningful rebellion against authority with the intent to change the future.
- Protests and riots have historically sparked change in society: the Boston Tea Party, the Civil War, the Stonewall riots, and Ferguson are just a few of these events.
- Laws, the justice system, and the government we live under do not change and adapt on their own. It takes a forceful voice to suggest new ideas.
We’ve seen plenty of people brush off racism as a thing of the past. To put it in context, the Montgomery Bus Boycott (with Rosa Parks) began in 1955. Just 65 years ago, we still dictated where people of color were allowed to live, work, sit, and otherwise exist. Our parents and our grandparents have lived in a time where the color of your skin determined your societal value. Racism is alive and well in this country today.
Silence outweighs the loudest of voices – inaction itself is action in favor of the oppressor. We believe it’s important to use our voice, no matter how limited, to speak out on an issue that transcends politics – this is a human rights issue. If any group of people is being denied basic human decency, then we are all affected.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Pop culture is so heavily guided and impacted by people of color, especially music. We do not get to pick and choose the parts of other cultures we want to keep while also standing by as those people are disproportionately murdered in our streets. The world of music would be significantly different without the influence of Black people.
Elvis openly found inspiration in gospel music and Black artists. Dr. Dre opened doors for Eminem. Usher paved the way for Justin Bieber.
The statement being made is not that every police officer, as a human, is “bad.” Instead, the statement is that the criminal justice system rewards bad behavior in ways that “good cops” cannot prevent or dismantle themselves.
There’s a reason that “Justice For George Floyd” is the largest Change.org petition in the site’s history. There’s a reason that protests are spreading across the nation. There’s a reason that you’re reading this post right now.
There is no community without unity. When we say music is better together, we mean everyone.
This country must change.
How You Can Help
- Attend protests/demonstrations in your area
- Donate to bail funds/front-line organizations in participating cities
- Demand change from your local officials and police chiefs