Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place
On July 8 2016, the Black Lives Matter Movement conducted a peaceful protest following the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. Castile and Sterling were both unarmed black men in their thirties who were shot and killed by the police within 24 hours of each other. I remember the night perfectly because the new Pokémon Go game had been released. While the majority of my twitter timeline was reminiscing our childhood with Pokémon Go, few people were talking about the unjust deaths of these men. I remember feeling rage while tweeting “Majority of my followers don’t know what happened the past 24 hours. Must be nice not having to worry about shit like this.” I was filled with anger, because it is becoming more of a norm to see my black brothers being killed unjustly, and majority of the population seems not to care, nonetheless notice.
The Peaceful Protest Conducted by the Black Lives Matter Movement on July 8th was supposed to be just that…peaceful. It was just that, until Micah Xavier Johnson (25), shed several rounds of gunfire killing five police officers, and injuring seven other officers and two civilians. It truly was a tragic night. After hearing the news, my heart and prayers immediately went out to the officers and their families. What many people don’t know is I am the granddaughter of a retired homicide detective from the LAPD and the niece of a homicide detective in San Ramon. They put their lives on the line for civilians day in and day out. I don’t know how I would be able to live if anything happened to them. This is where I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place.
When the news of the five officers that were killed on July 8th came about, people immediately took to social media, and I noticed them ending their posts with the hash tag, #BlueLivesMatter. On Facebook, I saw several postings about how the lives of police officers matter. Many people said that we would never fully understand the heartache that they feel because they have relatives in the police force. This instantly frustrated me because, I do feel the pain that the families of the men and women in blue feel. I also feel the pain of people of color fearing for their lives because of the melanin in their skin. The media is always outraged when something bad happens to a police officer, but where were your cries of justice when Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Tanisha Anderson and many other black men and women were killed?
I find myself in a constant battle of which side I should be on. Should I empathize more with police officers because I have family in the police force, or should I stick up for the people of color because I know what it is like to be judged and profiled because of the color of my skin? The truth is, being pro-black does not mean that we are anti-cop. I shouldn’t have to choose which side to be on. I shouldn’t feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. To me, The Black Lives Matter Movement is a continuation of the Civil Rights Movement. We finally have rights, but are now fighting for our lives. The majority of our police officers take the oath to protect and serve because they truly want to make the world a better place, but it is the few corrupt ones in the bunch that give them a bad name. I believe that blue lives matter, but in order for all lives to matter, black lives must finally have a place of significance for the first time in American History.