One year ago today, the world watched as George Floyd's life slipped out of his body by the heinous act of a police officer, someone who swore to protect lives, even his; a black man. I watched the video only one time and I will never be able to unsee a man's life being taken in such a horrible manner. One day, his daughter, if she hasn't already, will look at that video and wonder why. She will wonder why the officer couldn't make the choice and stand up instead of kneeling on her father's neck until he died. I can't imagine the feeling of knowing you're going to die when all the person who holds your life in their hands has to do is stand up.
Many lives were ruined that day, not just his. There are other family members, friends, and the whole world. We are all forever impacted by what we saw that day. The smirk on Chauvin's face was the look of a man who got a rush out of hearing a black man beg for his life even with phones recording every second of what was happening. He didn't care. He seemed to enjoy the idea that he could flex his race and in essence, put a black man in his place; where HE thought he should be. When will that stop? When will people of all races be allowed to live? What was the crime that was so egregious that it should cost George Floyd his life; robbing his daughter of her father? How many more fatherless children will be left by the hands of a person in a uniform who used to be so respected? Is there respect any more for the police?
Look at the mentality of the generation coming up. They don't see the police as I once did when I was a little girl. I remember them walking through the neighborhoods, smiling, waving at those in the neighborhood, really taking the time to get to know everyone they were policing daily. As kids, we looked up to them. The police were our heroes because we went to bed at night knowing that the police were out there in the streets protecting us from the bad men. In this generation, they don't view the police that way. Every time they turn on the television or head to a social media site, they see police causing more harm and death than helping. What could happen at this point to remove that image from their minds? They see George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, Freddie Gray and so many others who probably never thought that law enforcement would be the reason why their lives didn't mean more. How do we erase that stigma that's engrained in their minds and replace it with how they should see the police? My personal opinion is that I don't think we can. I think it's happened too many times and there haven't been enough repercussions for police who take lives and think it's okay because they feel they have a right to do so, no matter the circumstance because they have a bad, uniform and gun that gives them the power. Why are they not trained to deal with situations so that they don't end in murder?
If a cop wakes up each day and heads to work afraid thinking it's his/her life or the lives of those they encounter, perhaps instead of going into work, they should search for another career; one that won't have them walking around with their finger on the trigger, just in case. I'm not blind to the fact that there are bad people out in the world who need to be handled, but the number of lives taken by police over the past ten years or so continues to grow exponentially and it has to stop. We are tired of seeing more George Floyds since his death this day last year. Nothing was learned from that incident because it's still happening as if with all the brilliance in the world today, no one can come up with reforms for the police department and how they encounter potential situations on the street. The answer should not be to take a life as if that's the only way. George Floyd deserved to still be here and so did everyone else who had a police officer cut their lives short. Police are not gods though they think they are; we don't. We want reform. We want better.
Not all police are bad; we know that. I have many in my family, many who are friends and some I don't know from the stranger passing by on the street and most are doing what they swore to do. Others need to be weened out and told, though it was easy to go through training and get the bade, it takes a special person with a heart for the people to be a cop. Those are the ones we want to see in a uniform. George Floyd deserves to still be here. His daughter deserves to have her father. All little girls do.
Today, we remember George Floyd and what his life meant to the living. He was a man. He was a black man. He was an imperfect man. He was a father. He was a brother. He was a friend. He was a living, breathing human until he wasn't. Why is that? Because a police officer knelt on his neck and despite George's pleas that he couldn't breathe, that officer didn't take a moment to tell himself to stand up. No crime should be handled as a copy as judge, jury, and executioner. Laws are in place for a reason and now, Chauvin is getting a lesson of his own of just how those laws work. As we wait to hear what his sentencing will be for the murder of George Floyd, I don't think there is anyone, anywhere who finds any kind of win-win in all of this. Lives are ruined on both ends. The video of him killing George Floyd is now a part of American history. Instead of people remembering the past and working to do better, we seem to be going in a backward direction; back to a time when black lives didn't matter and there were those who fought to get us to a point when they did matter. How can it be that in 2021, black lives seem to matter less than they did many, many years ago? How have we made no progress?
I watched the news today and saw our Secretary of State venture to another country to beg, plead and help bring about peace in that region, but what about this one? Before we try to help another country disband hatred, we first need to clean our own house.
I didn't know George Floyd or any others who died at the hands of a cop. When I see and read their stories, my heart hurts for them and their families. The anguish and pain they are all enduring, as a result, is something no one should have to live through. On this day, it's time to continue to push for change, for better respect of human lives, and for reform in how a cop sees his job. It's not to be pleased with themselves for taking a life; it's to get up each day and ask themselves how they can make sure fewer lives are taken and more are saved. Do better; we all deserve that. George Floyd didn't get it, but let's have it for the next George Floyd so that we don't have to read about his death in the media, but about the impact his life with positively have because he's alive.
Take a moment today to say a silent prayer for George Floyd's daughter. What she has to live through from this point forward will be harder than any of us will ever know. She'll never be able to forget that her father died from being unable to breathe because a copy didn't think to stand up.
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