Tomorrow we hit 3 months in lockdown. 90 days ago Remi and I had talked about what our situation would need to look like for us to consider leaving. We decided it would have to include one or both of us losing our jobs and / or if the streets became dangerous (looting, gun violence, etc). That’s when we were only dealing with living in the epicenter of a global pandemic. But over the last 90 days, as America has continued to battle the health crisis, it’s also now battling deep economic and social crises; all at the same time.
For the most part; there have been a lot of peaceful protests around the USA – but they’re boring for the media to cover, and they don’t lead to click bait; which ultimately doesn’t make the media outlet any money. It’s the more shocking acts of violence that we’ve seen circulating around social media, and what a perfect stormy week it’s been. 3 months of being cooped up inside with over 20million jobs lost. So those with nowhere to go also have nothing to do and nothing to occupy their minds. So we’re online and we’re consuming and consuming and consuming.
So when Amy Cooper (feels like a lifetime about but this was only last week) had the audacity to weaponize her whiteness against a black man in Central Park; we rightly so, flipped. Seeing a̶ d̶i̶s̶g̶u̶s̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶l̶o̶w̶-̶l̶i̶f̶e̶ ̶p̶i̶e̶c̶e̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶s̶c̶u̶m̶ Amy using her white privilege to harm and threaten a black man by calling the police and making false accusations; knowing that she would have the upper hand because of the colour of her skin VS the colour of his skin and knowing what these accusations could lead to; made my blood boil. I don’t know a single human who watched the recording of Amy Cooper and walked away from it feeling calm or just.
So you can imagine, with the fury burning in our bellies already, how we were feeling when the video of George Floyd surfaced; as we watched a white cop, whose job it is to keep his community safe, calmly kneel on George’s neck, until he suffocated and died in front of our eyes. I am with the protesters who took it to the streets and demonstrated their outrage. And if I wasn’t here on my ‘best behavior’, i’d 100% be there too. But there’s a difference between the protest groups who are suffering and whose communities are suffering, and looters; and they’re not the same people – for the most part. There is a danger here that the actions of the looters impacts the actions of the protesters, and there’s a terrible danger of changing the conversation from fighting for justice, from protesting against extreme police brutality, from fighting for George Floyd – to focus on the the criminal acts of the looters and thugs – and rolling these two different groups of people (with very different motivations) into one.
While I am behind the American people, the outrage they are showing and the justice they are fighting for; the structure and the love is missing. And it’s no wonder – everywhere you look there’s a lack of leadership, there’s hatred, division is being fueled and minorities are being isolated. But there’s an opportunity to channel this rage into something even more productive. If history tells us anything, it’s that these aren’t isolated events, and in the past, the only time there has been true, revolutionary change, was when the energy, efforts, passion, and will power has been channeled into a vision. So if we can channel every fiber of anger and passion and resentment for this broken country into progress, we actually might be able to do something. We don’t need to lose the passion or the outrage; we need to direct it. America, now more than ever, desperately needs a true leader, (not a #BunkerBoy), to walk them out of this mess, to recover, to bring together the community, to bring the nation back together.
There is power in non-violent protests; and while our hearts ache, our tears fall and our blood boils – we need to remember love.
Love is still the answer.