Leading youth news site, Mic, has collaborated with celebrities like Alicia Keys, Tiraji P. Henson, Chris Rock, Beyonce and Rihanna to highlight US police brutality.
The recent killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling have reinspired protests against police brutality and reawakened the online#BlackLivesMatter movement.
Inspired by an article titled ’23 Everyday Actions Punishable by Death if You’re Black in America’ by Mic writer, Jamilah King, Alicia Keys organized friends to collaborate on a video titled ‘#23ways You Could Be Killed If You Are Black In America’. In the video, 23 instances are mentioned where black women, men and children have died while performing everyday actions.
Tamir Rice was 12, when a police officer opened fire on him in a park (he had his hands in his pocket but had been playing with a toy gun). Eric Garner was choked to death selling cigarettes outside a grocery store. Unarmed teen, Ramarley Graham, was shot on the way to the bathroom while police raided his house. Treyvon Martin was 17 years old when he wore a hoodie.
The video mentions and commemorates the people who lost their lives to these fatally menial actions.
This is the reality of a person who happens to be black in America, and it does not discriminate gender or age. The colour of your skin can subject you to a higher chance of the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms) being exercised. On you.
It can lead you to be shot in the head while knocking on a door for help after a car accident. Yet the man who did it is protected by the ‘stand your ground’ law that applies in Michigan for shooting you, an unarmed woman, because he found you ‘threatening’. It can lead a neighbourhood watchman to be acquitted because yes, a 17 year old boy walking in a hoodie is indeed ‘suspicious’.
This issue is not just police-centred, it focuses on the community as a whole. Why do these things still happen? Why were a group of elderly people at a church massacred by a 21 year old saying, ‘I have to do it. You’re raping our women and taking over the country. You have to go.’
There is a problem, these lives matter. These lives should matter more in the eyes of the law- whether lost at the hands of it, or looking to it for justice.
“Philando Castile was not a martyr.”, King wrote, “He was an ordinary 32-year-old black man who fed children for a living and hoped to make it home after work on Wednesday. He didn’t.”
Join them and visit the We Are Here Movement site to call for social change.