23 We want what the 14th amendment promised us!

Created by Cory Newton

 

Person stands with crowd in background of Seattle Police Department Precinct during Black Lives Matter protests following the police killing of George Floyd
Photo Credit: Cory Newton, at the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), 2020

 

I am an African American male and it is not out of the norm for me to see someone like myself dying on television at the hands of police. Every time I’ve seen this happen I begin to feel numb as if I can be the next one because these individuals are not committing serious crimes. These individuals just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, while being black. This is extremely concerning because after graduation I plan on going into policing so that I can do my part – diversifying the police force to get more African Americans officers in African American neighborhoods in an attempt to rebuild community trust. The issue with this however is that I would be labeled an “Uncle Tom” for being a part of that system. At least this is how my own brother feels about my career decision.

At first when the Black Lives Matter movement began, I didn’t understand what it was about, I just remember the response from America that rebutted with, Blue Lives Matter. This was concerning because the message behind Black Lives Matter was that we want the same fair and equal justice that every other citizen gets. That we deserve our due process in court without being murdered in the streets, and the response from America was essentially no. America reminded us that our lives did not matter and in fact, the people we were complaining about, their lives mattered more, instead of ours. Police officers even began to openly embrace this narrative as they can be seen wearing garments or other memorabilia that display the “thin blue line”. At this point it is starting to feel like a war and everyone must choose a side.

That is why I had to visit the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) where protestors took over a part of the city of Seattle. For many this felt like a win, that with this bold statement progress would surely be made. For myself, again I felt numb after realizing that this isn’t the way society is supposed to be. That there shouldn’t have to be protest that take over city streets so that police officers will stop killing its citizens and I shouldn’t want to have to go into policing in hopes of creating a safer environment so that people who look like me will not be murdered. This can’t be America.

 


Partial segment of Kimberly Jones’ video “How We Can Win,”
David Jones Media, 2020

 

Media Attribution/Credit:
David Jones Media/Kimberly Jones, “How We Can Win,” 2020

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Black Lives Matter Collective Storytelling Project by A University of Washington Tacoma cross-course collaboration between TSOC 265 and TCOM 347 courses. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.