Until each breath refuses they, those, them.
Until the Dramatis Personae of the book’s first page says, “Each one is you.”
Until hope bows to its hopelessness only as one self bows to another. Until cruelty bends to its work and sees suddenly: I.
Until anger and insult know themselves burnable legs of a useless table.
Until the unsurprised unbidden knees find themselves bending. Until fear bows to its object as a bird’s shadow bows to its bird. Until the ache of the solitude inside the hands, the ribs, the ankles. Until the sound the mouse makes inside the mouth of the cat. Until the inaudible acids bathing the coral.
Until what feels no one’s weighing is no longer weightless.
Until what feels no one’s earning is no longer taken.
Until grief, pity, confusion, laughter, longing know themselves mirrors.
Until by we we mean I, them, you, the muskrat, the tiger, the hunger.
Until by I we mean as a dog barks, sounding and vanishing and
sounding and vanishing completely.
Until by until we mean I, we, you, them, the muskrat, the tiger, the
hunger, the lonely barking of the dog before it is answered.
— Jane Hirshfield
Even though one ex-police officer has been charged in the Minneapolis murder of unarmed George Floyd the eruption of anger around the country has continued because they are not about that one crime but rampant police violence without consequences. A recent analysis found that 99% of police killings from 2014-2019 did not result in officers even being charged, let alone convicted of a crime. During those years, there have been consistently been in excess of 1,000 killings — across race of victim — by police per year. In other words, little has changed appreciably despite years of protest and advocacy.
Per capita, black Americans are the most likely victims, nearly three times as likely to be killed as whites, as well as much more likely to have been unarmed when shot. In many cities, the rate of police killings is higher than the rate of violent crimes.
Protests against police killing of unarmed black men have been numerous and at times long-lived, giving rise to the Black Lives Matter movement and other advocacy efforts. Some studies have shown that the resulting oversight measures, e.g. chokehold and stronghold bans, have indeed had some impact.
But not enough. A black man in America has a 1 in 1000 chance of being killed by the police. Is there anything protesters can do other than draw attention to this problem that does not seem to be going away?
Many advocates argue that no change can come about until policies are put in place weakening police unions, and ensuring police cannot be militarized or demilitarized at the whim of the president of the United States. The decision to offer police military equipment is not made at the local, but federal level. And police union officials, who often shape the rules police officers are governed by, are voted in by officers in the union — not by the public.
The officer who has been charged with the murder of George Floyd was still on the job after 18 prior complaints. And 99% of officers are not charged following a killing. With these odds and the years of frustration they have ignited, there is little recourse other than to continue to take to the streets.
— Via Vox
Smoke billowing over Tulsa, Oklahoma during 1921 race riots.
‘The United States has seen escalating protests over the past week, following the death of George Floyd while in custody of the Minneapolis police. Educators everywhere are asking how can we help students understand that this was not an isolated, tragic incident perpetrated by a few bad individuals, but part of a broader pattern of institutionalized racism. Institutional racism—a term coined by Stokey Carmichael (later known as Kwame Ture) and Charles V. Hamilton in their 1967 book Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America—is what connects George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery with Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Emmett Till, and the thousands of other people of color who have been killed because they were black in America….’
— Via JSTOR