No One Should Be Afraid to Wake Up in America

by Alex Garrett

As originally published on Medium: https://medium.com/@AlexGInNYC/no-one-should-be-afraid-to-wake-up-in-america-87e4a0741f67

We are living in two realities right now. We are seeing the reality of the citizen journalist making a difference showing peaceful interactions with cops and protesters. We also are seeing still the television/ citizen journalist reality of rioters and looters and clashes, initiated by police at times. We must accept both realities and utilize them to grow as a country.

Showing the right way to go about this and the wrong way will help us find a better solution learning from both. I also pray for the 17 yr. old who filmed the murder of George Floyd. She exposed the horror. Unfortunately , her life has been threatened for not stepping in to stop the cold act of killing by Derek Chauvin(calling him officer doesn’t do the uniform nor George Floyd justice). It truly was up to the seemingly-bystander cops to stop the horror and they just didn’t.

We can and should accept that police brutality has long been an issue. It’s time for each department to be fully examined for policies and complaint loads. Other departments may follow suit of Minneapolis PD and ban unethical forms of arrest like, oh I don’t know, neck restraints.

In addition to fighting the brutalities we see on all fronts not just by police, lets make it less tenuous for minorities of all kinds to get opportunities . Let’s treat all with the respect and dignity God has given us all the blessing of from birth. Let’s give chances and open up more doors!

The times of worrying whether or not someone should get a drug test as a prerequisite for being hired should go out the window. We are seeing the realities of the fragility of life and whether someone has weed on them or not should not define them , whoever they may be. Nor should we judge those working at the local McDonalds who have a family to support day in and day out.

We cannot just say Black Lives Matter or All Lives Matter unless we work to show lives matter and appreciate that they are working to make life happen! Smash the stigmas!

As a man who rollerblades on one leg around New York City this whole ordeal has shown me that I, myself, should stop judging. I am starting to truly understand why the Fight For 15 makes sense after all!

How cool would it also be to say that people don’t have to stay at 15 an hour for life. That there are bigger an better paths to pursue , let’s make colleges more affordable and make loan-relief more reasonable then what we are seeing! Let’s open up candidate processes of big companies even more and inspire minorities to apply and work their way into top positions through merit not by quota! We’ve seen this happening more and more, but perhaps it’s time to say it’s still not enough.

We can do this!

We can and should also acknowledge the cops that wake up every day working to serve and protect. It’s those cops we should look to for guidance, we should look to for questions about things and just not write them off entirely. NYPD Commissioner Shea was showing solidarity at an African American church in Brooklyn, proving that cops are ready for a dialogue as well!

No one should be afraid to wake up in America and together we can change this current climate!