“Do Black Lives Still Matter?“
By Whitney G.
(HOLLYWOOD, CALIF.) — On May 25, George Floyd was murdered by police on video, and the world erupted in protest.
Although this was not the first recording of its kind, it was the spark that reignited a conversation that is generations old. In the midst of a global pandemic, our attention glued firmly to our cell phones, the world stood up and demanded change. And for once, it seemed those demands might be met.
Corporations were quick to align themselves with the movement, but on- line call-outs quickly followed. Black employees wanted to know how a company could be on the right side of history, if it is not even on the right side of its staff. The question is why did it take a national outcry for these issues to be addressed?
For many black people, this initial out- pouring of support from the very people who had harmed us was confusing and felt deeply disingenuous. Still, even during the fallout, change was happening.
In Los Angeles, we took to the streets, the phones and Zoom meetings to air our frustrations and rage. And it looked like it was working. The LAPD budget was slashed by $150 million, and schools around the nation began canceling their contracts with police.
It appeared revolution was finally upon us. Now, over three months since the uprising began, as I watch the news or scroll through social media, it seems like we have gone back to business as usual. So-called allies have quietly re- moved their black squares of solidarity and have returned to their usual content on Instagram.
Multi-billion-dollar businesses that have made promises and donations alike continue to peddle their goods using the same old capitalistic formulas: cheap labor and wild profit over the safety and prosperity of their laborers.
U.S. billionaires have made nearly $600 billion during the pandemic while Black people continue to die at an alarming, disproportionate rate. Donations and offerings of corporate commitment to “do better” have done little to slow this trend.
The facts are enough to make a person want to cry, scream, pull the covers over.Whitney G.
their head. I implore you, however, to remember that sit-ins of the Civil Rights Movement lasted months. The Montgomery bus boycotts went on for over a year. The Anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa took 80 years.
I’m not advocating for patience as that wore away long ago. Ending the atrocity that is white supremacy is hundreds of years overdue. Instead, I ask you to summon your perseverance.
Let us remember those who lived their whole lives without a wink of the freedom we have now. It is our duty to rest, recharge and then get back up and fight for the freedoms they deserved but never received.
Just as we are living our ancestors’ wildest dreams, the work we do now will illuminate the path of future generations. We have a duty to get this right.