Local protests support Black Lives Matter and aim to make change

Protesters+in+Milwaukee+walk+in+solidarity+with+the+Black+Lives+Matter+movement.

Sasha Shapsis

Protesters in Milwaukee walk in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

On Monday, May 25 in Minneapolis, Minn, George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, was arrested and then killed by officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin has since been charged with second degree murder after kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes ultimately resulting in his death. Three other Minneapolis police officers were present and have been charged with aiding and abetting murder.

Floyd’s death was recorded on a cell phone by a bystander. Since the video has been released there have been protests throughout the city of Minneapolis and the country to raise awareness for police brutality against African Americans. Protesting methods have ranged anywhere from peaceful marches to violent riots. Around the country, , as protests grew, curfews were emplaced, and President Trump called for the National Guard in 23 states and Washington D.C.

Though Floyd’s death was the catalyst for these current worldwide events, the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and multiple other African Americans have contributed to the outrage of the American people.

According to blacklivesmatter.com, the goal of the movement is to “eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.”

When looking at the statistics, the Washington Post explains that since January of 2015, around 4,787 people have been shot and killed by police. Of that number around 1,265 victims were black and 2,416 of them were white.

While numerically more white people have been killed by police, African Americans only make up about 13% of the US population. This is where the killing is disproportionate. 30 people are killed per million when black compared to 12 people killed per million when white. African Americans are killed at 2.67 times the rate of white Americans, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

As protests have appeared in every state, we can see them close to home in Milwaukee with marches beginning on Friday, May 29 and continuing since. Signs reading “I can’t breathe” and “Black Lives Matter” show how citizens are in solidarity against police brutality.

Global and nationwide protests aim to call attention to the brutality against African Americans and make changes within the government and police force. They have also made calls to defund police departments and redistribute wealth from police budgets. “The goal is to dismantle and rebuild the justice system in America that is plagued with systemic racism,” Abbey Perkins, Homestead alumna, said.

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