This past Tuesday a new term emerged #BlackoutTuesday I spent the day glued to the news and reading everything I could to educate myself more on the state of our country and the state of the world. Most importantly I educated myself on everything regarding the tragic loss of George Floyd, and the many others that came before him because I finally learned the true meaning behind why #BlackLivesMatter, and why everyone should be saying this right now.
I don’t know what type of response I will get to this. I’m a little wary of the comments I may receive or that what I’m saying may not be the right thing, but that's ok. I also know that I needed to say something, and not be silent.
Understanding the Difference Between #BlackLivesMatter & #AllLivesMatter
I came across something on social media the other day that was denouncing the term #AllLivesMatter, and I was confused. This really made me take a moment and think…
Why Wouldn’t “All Lives Matter?”
This is a term that I have used for so long because it is something I believe in…
I am a big supporter and believer in the fact that “All Lives DO Matter!” I don’t believe in any type of racism, in regard to any differences we may have, whether they are race, color, creed, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or social differences.
I’m a surgical nurse. So I help people for a living. It is in my nature. I do it because I’m a helper and I feel good at the end of the day, like I made a difference, unlike some other jobs I’ve had.
I go on mission trips to other countries and work for free helping the disadvantaged. I volunteer here at home. I assist with all types of surgeries from transplants to gallbladders to gender re-orientation cases. I work with cancer patients. I work with tuberculosis patients. I work with Covid-19 patients. Racism has no place in my life, and frankly, I don’t understand it how it still exists!
I treat everyone the same, regardless, because we ARE all the same. We are HUMANS.
I’ve always used the term #AllLivesMatter because they do. I never wanted to feel as though I was excluding anyone, or any life, for any reason. I didn’t want to feel as though I was perpetuating more of a divide when we need to be united.
Earlier this week I posted a few things on social media using #AllLivesMatter. I did this before I had watched any news or media coverage. I did this before I understood the difference between #BlackLivesMatter & #AllLivesMatter
I don’t like to watch the news very often, because I feel like it’s a continuous stream of negativity coming at me, and it can sometimes be depressing and overwhelming.
What Happened to George Floyd
I waited to watch the news and hadn’t yet seen the video of what happened to George Floyd, but I heard about, read about it, and I was appalled. Another life was senselessly taken. A black life. It made me feel a bit as though we had moved decades in reverse.
I finally turned on the TV to see what was happening. Murder, protests, riots, and uprisings. What was going on?
What happened to George Floyd shouldn’t happen to anyone. Something started to dawn on me as I watched and listened. I felt sickened. How did I not see this before? My eyes were opened to what has been happening. I saw it before, but I didn’t see it, because I didn’t want to see it. I saw the things that happened, but I didn’t fully recognize the disproportionality of it all.
I felt the need to share this with others and say it out loud.
I watched the video of George Floyd being replayed in shock and horror!
The video of what happened to George Floyd was outrageous, and literally brought tears to my eyes. I’ve continued to have tears in my eyes as I watch and listen to what people are saying; what black people are saying, what white people are saying, what all people are saying; Hispanic, Asian, Native, people from other countries. The passions are running high and with good reason. This is another global pandemic. It is a pandemic of racism.
Watching the pain of George Floyd’s family has been heartbreaking. From his brother to his daughter, to his son, his friends, and all his family members. Hearing about the kind of man he was from his family, has made this even more disturbing.
Justice is demanded. Watching him struggle and plead for his life, while onlookers begged police to stop, literally made me sick to my stomach. It was horrifying to see and shook me to the core!!
My heart truly goes out to the family of George Floyd. I wanted to jump through the TV to help him. I still can’t sleep right or stop thinking about it. I just can’t imagine how devastated they must be, but know that this is going to be what changes everything. This is a pivotal point in history.
Recently I’ve heard people pointing out things from his past, and that frankly is disgusting. It holds no bearing whatsoever on what happened to George Floyd. People make mistakes. No one deserves what happened to him, especially a man referred to by friends and family as a “gentle giant and humble person.” He was a devoted father and most importantly a HUMAN BEING.
He was one of the many Americans struggling to survive during the Covid-19 pandemic, due to job loss, and both his boss and co-workers had commendable things to say about him.
George Floyd’s name will never be forgotten. He is the final symbol of the fight for equal rights in the United States and the World. His name will be remembered and his death was not, and will not be in vain.
Waking Up to the Truth of Black Lives Matter
It is has been during this time that I realized the true meaning behind the #BlackLivesMatter movement. “Black Lives Matter” isn’t trying to be mutually exclusive, and say that other lives don’t matter.
Everyone knows or should know that “All Lives Matter,’ but right now they are trying to raise awareness that they are not treated equally. I don’t need to feel like I have to be politically correct.
On the contrary, they are saying “Hey, this is not right! Look at what is happening to us!! Look at what has been happening to us!!” They are trying to wake people up to the truth of what they face. Black Lives Matter has been trying to show that there is a difference in how African Americans are treated, and it’s been this way for far too long.
Here is a link to an interesting Ted Talk that focuses on the health inequities of the black community, but it also touches on the many relevant injustices that are happening right now, even though it was originally posted in 2016; 5 years ago.
It’s a wake-up call to the world!!
Black Lives DO Matter. George Floyd’s life mattered and it has come to a boiling and breaking point, after years of inequality, judgment, oppression, and social injustice.
Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his famous speech entitled “I have a dream” which you can read by clicking this link below right here in 1963…
We are still fighting the brutality of what he spoke about today!
The Bubble of White Privilege
Maybe I’ve been living in a bubble, not seeing these things because I don’t think that way. I wasn’t raised to see people as different. I’ve wanted to believe that racism doesn’t exist anymore.
How can it? This is 2020, but here it is blatantly in our faces, and it deserves to be brought into the spotlight. This bubble of not seeing; I guess this is what white privilege is, and that is really sad to me.
It’s sad that I really didn’t know what that term was. It’s sad that this bubble exists. It’s sad that I never wanted to see this bubble because seeing it is admitting that it exists, and no one wants to believe that.
It’s sad that people are treated differently; still today in 2020. It’s sad that the parents of minorities have to have these difficult conversations with their children, about things that are the basic human rights of everyone. That’s innocence lost. Children don’t think that way.
Racism is learned. No one is born thinking this way. I’m learning so much as I awaken to these atrocities, and see how vital it is that we teach everyone. Ignoring things, living in a bubble, or having blinders on doesn’t mean that these things don’t exist.
This is also another great Ted Talk done by two high school graduates. It’s enlightening to see this subject being embraced & talked about by younger generations. This is what is needed.
We need to lead by example and lead with our hearts to change and shape our future generations, so this doesn’t happen anymore, and never happens again.
I have had my own personal experiences with being in the minority, from when I was living outside the United States. It in no way compares to the years of oppression and the experiences of African Americans, and other ethnic groups, but it does give me perspective. I do know what it’s like to walk down the street and have everyone staring at you, judging you, talking about you. I know what it feels like to not feel safe.
I think a lot of people may be able to find some time in their life that they can relate to feeling this way. Imagine a lifetime of it! Imagine decades of it! Imagine losing family and friends over it! I can’t! Things need to change and the time is now.
How We Fix a Broken System
Policy & Procedure Reform
The system is broken. Policies and procedures need to be reformed. There needs to be repercussions and discipline for actions violating these procedures. Body cams should be a requirement. This is for everyone’s best interests. It takes away the questionable nature of what happened. I believe this would be safer for both civilians and law enforcement.
Disciplinary Actions and Steps
When someone does something wrong at work violating procedures there is usually a system in place, to issue either a verbal warning or written warning, depending on the severity. This is then followed by additional training, to make sure it never happens again. Did they have any such system?! How did this situation escalate to the loss of human life.
It is reported that the former officer, Derick Chauvin, that held his knee to George’s neck had 17 prior complaints against him, 2 of which were closed to discipline. That seems excessive. Tou Thao, one of the other former officers had multiple complaints against him, including an excessive force lawsuit in 2017, that was settled out of court for $25,000.
The nature of these other complaints are not clear, but the nightclub where both Chauvin and Floyd had reportedly worked, said that Chauvin had been known to use excessive force, including the use of pepper spray for crowd control. It still is not clear whether the two had known each other.
The 2 other officers, out of the 4 present and involved, were rookie cops and Chauvez was training them. So this is the type of person we are placing in leadership to train and guide new officers?
Onlookers urged for the police to stop, and for almost 9 minutes, George Floyd begged and pleaded for his life. You can hear him clearly saying that he “couldn’t breathe,” while calling out for his mother.
Universal CPR Training for All Civil Servants
These former officers should have had CPR training. All civil servants should. It needs to be a requirement. It’s a requirement for teachers in most states. Why is it not a requirement for police?
They are typically the first on the scene, and maybe they could have done something to save his life. The man was clearly unresponsive, and the only thing they did was continue to compress his ability to breathe and continue to do so for multiple minutes after.
There are videos on YouTube. This one features a timeline of events with cameras from multiple angles, from a reputable news source. I originally left it out because of the graphic nature of it, but I think the people that haven’t seen it should. So they can grasp the gravity of the situation, and see the full series of events.
Excessive force was used!! Why?!
Clear Guidelines for Using Excessive Force
There need to be clear outlines and guidelines of when and how to use force, and the types of force used. I know law enforcement have dangerous jobs and encounter dangerous situations, but this was not that.
This man was clearly not resisting, to the extent that he needed 3 people to hold him down on the ground in a prone position (facedown), compressing his neck and chest, all while he was saying that he couldn’t breathe.
Psychological Training & Testing
There should be guidelines and psychological training provided to anyone that is placed in a position of power and protection, especially those allowed to carry firearms and weapons. We need to make sure that the individuals placed in these positions do not abuse their power.
There also needs to be, consistent training on de-escalation tactics, basic humanity, and empathy, which seemed to be lacking in these former officers.
I’m here to apologize for myself and everyone else saying #AllLivesMatter right now (at this moment) because although ALL lives do matter, we can’t say that until there is true equality for all. I’m here to apologize for the social injustice that has been plaguing the system and the world. At this moment the most appropriate term is:
George Floyd’s life mattered!
When a black life is literally wiped out before our eyes on National Television, imagine all the things we don’t see. We hear about these injustices time and time again. Our world is hurting, and It’s so sad that this is what had to happen for it to come to this point, but it is time for the inequality to end. George Floyd’s life mattered. Black Lives Matter.
Protests and Making a Difference
I want to believe that the world is good, and there are so many good people out there. The peaceful protestors have been inspiring, and I do believe they’ve made a difference.
I saw what someone called a “prayer walk” posted on social media, and it was beautiful. The singing was soulful and overwhelmingly emotional. I could literally feel the energy and connectedness of the people there at that moment.
The moments of positivity have been enlightening.
I’ve seen videos and photo moments captured of law enforcement walking with protestors, bending the knee, hugging, and genuinely connecting with people. Not all law enforcement is evil, and we have to remember that.
I know they have difficult jobs and have to face unknown circumstances, and there are many good people out there. It’s just a shame that a few bad apples can ruin the bunch. These are the people that we need to weed out. This is where the reform is needed.
The looting and destruction need to end though. This isn’t solving anything. George Floyd’s own brother said that he would not want this. He was not about that. He was a “gentle giant,” who loved his daughter, family, and God. His brother urged people to do this a “better way.” “Get out vote and educate ourselves.”
Violent protests are only hiding the true meaning of what’s happening and harming the very people we are trying to protect. Violence is what got us here in the first place.
We don’t need anymore hurt in the world. A world that is already trying to recover on the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic. When these businesses fail, there will be even fewer jobs, and the struggles will continue.
Stay Awake to the Injustice
When I’ve used the term #AllLivesMatter. I didn’t mean to seem like I was downplaying what happened or making the situation seem insignificant. I didn’t mean to be in the bubble, but it’s popped now. I actually thought that I was doing the complete opposite, by including everyone.
I now see why we need to say #BlackLivesMatter and stop saying #AllLivesMatter because right now the emphasis needs to be that black lives matter too.
We need to stay awake to the injustice and fix what is broken. We need to continue to say this until everyone sees it, and until everyone’s eyes are open. Until then, I hear you! I see you! I’m awake to the injustice.
This was my own self-appraisal, and how I woke to the injustice and learned the true meaning behind the Black Lives Matter Movement. How I broke the bubble. I’m not going to stop educating myself on these matters and doing what I can to help.
I hope that others continue to educate themselves and learn more about it too. The World is hurting but also waking up to the injustice. We need to stay that way. This is a time for healing and reform. We need everyone‘s eyes to be open and stay open.
This post is dedicated to all those who have lost their lives to social injustice because of being treated unfairly due to their race, specifically being African American. This is dedicated to George Floyd. May he rest in peace.
In Loving Memory of…
This is dedicated to all those who came before. To all those not mentioned…we hear you, we see you, and you made a difference. Your life mattered…#BlackLivesMatter
*If you have someone’s name that you would like to be included please just send me an email and I’ll add it.*
This post is also written to hopefully educate, enlighten, and share with others who may be using the term #AllLifeMatters at this moment. They probably don’t even realize that what they are saying, might be viewed as insensitive to the black community trying to raise awareness for these injustices.
We stand together to help our black brothers and sisters out in the historic moment in history. We stand together with our brothers and sisters of all races and all walks of life. We are stronger together and we will get through this. Our voices are being heard!!!
With Love and Solidarity,
~ Mary Cate xoxo
Please share with your friends or anyone who you think might benefit from this.
Sharing is Good Karma…
How You Can Help
I have compiled some resources to aid in the movement for anyone interested, and how you can help.
Be a part of the solution.