If you saw Instagram screens going black this Tuesday with a hashtag #blackouttuesday, be proud that you are living in a world that wants a change. People from across all 50 states of the USA came out on streets to protest the brutal murder of their brother, George Floyd.
He was a 46-year-old African-American who had lost his job due to the COVID Pandemic. How did he die? A police officer named Derek Chauvin, held a knee to Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while Floyd gasped for breath and finally succumbed.
He was accused of using a fake $20 bill to purchase cigarettes. Did he deserve such a harsh punishment? Of course not. Was this the first time a black life was killed so mercilessly? The answer is a disturbing no.
The outrage that is seen today in the USA and across the globe is nothing but built-up anger. For years people of specific races have been observing discrimination. The movement Black Lives Matter was started six years ago in response to another such incident.
In Feb 2012, a teenager named Trayvon Martin was shot by a white American. Martin’s crime was that he was walking on the street late at night. In July 2014, a cellphone video captured some of Eric Garner’s final words as New York City police officers sat on his head and pinned him to the ground on a sidewalk: “I can’t breathe.”
These were the same words spoken by George Floyd in his last breath. Since 2015, 1,252 people have been killed by the police in America.
The protests that have followed the death of George Floyd – some violent while others peaceful- signify that people have had enough. Research shows that black persons are 2.5 more likely to be killed by the police than whites.
The incident saw Americans of all color and race standing together for a crime against humanity. Police officers were trying to curb violent protests using rubber bullets, tear gases, and other means. At the same time, many police chiefs joined the protesters by kneeling in front of them. There needs to be a change in the system, and everyone is realizing it.
Big brands such as Nike, Ben, and Jerry’s, Netflix, Facebook, and many more came out in support of George Floyd. Ben and Jerry’s tweeted, “4 years ago, in the wake of Ferguson, we felt compelled to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement. We’re heartbroken; those words are just as relevant today.
These racist and brutal attacks against our Black brothers and sisters must end. #JusticeForFloyd”. While Netflix put up a tweet saying, “To be silent is to be complicit. Black lives matter. We have a platform, and we have a duty to our Black members, employees, creators, and talent to speak up”.
And lastly, remember that a bundle of sticks is tougher to break than a single stick. Stand up for what is wrong; stand together and strong.
Moonshot Jr, firmly believes that Gen-Z can make all the difference. While they look for entrepreneurs of the future, they also want to shape the leaders of tomorrow. Have we ever seen children discriminate against their black and colored friends? What changes as they grow up then?
We teach them to discriminate as they grow up. But what if we don’t? The right education can make all the difference. That is what we aim to do at Moonshot Jr, We as educators and guides to the young minds can help shape their vision and actions for tomorrow. The world is changing and we need to help them to adapt to this change.
It will also largely depend on the course of action taken by our young generation. Changing mindsets for a better future can save all George Floyds and people who suffer in the name of race, gender, culture, and religion. We are in a position to make this happen and we must take advantage of it.
The change must come. Now.