Op-EdOpinion

LOWE: What Must Be Done?

The events of the past couple of weeks have been a writer’s bonanza, yet at the same time, it has been exceedingly difficult for me personally. Several incidents have kept me awake at night. I stare at the ceiling asking myself what I can do while hoping for an answer.

Several weeks ago, for my online newspaper BlackmansStreet.Today, I wrote about Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot to death while jogging in a Georgia neighborhood by a white father and son acting as vigilantes.

Arbery’s killing was quickly followed by the police murder of Breonna Taylor in Louisville.

Police used a “no-knock” warrant to break down the door of her apartment. The cops claimed they were looking for drugs. They did not find any because none were there. They had the wrong address. Their bullets, however, found Taylor eight times, killing her as she lay in her bed.

Shortly afterward, Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd for the nonviolent crime of attempting to use a fake $20 bill to buy a pack of cigarettes. Chauvin, who had 17 unresolved citizen complaints filed against him, put his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck as he lay facedown on the sidewalk handcuffed behind his back. Floyd said he could not breathe.

Witnesses could hear Floyd, and they begged Chauvin to let him up. Chauvin did not budge.

Floyd’s murder has sparked so far eight days of both peaceful and violent protests across the country and around the world. More than 60,000 people showed up in Houston on Tuesday to honor its native son. This is unbelievable because Floyd was unknown to most of us three weeks ago. His murder has overshadowed the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just before Floyd’s murder, Amy Cooper was walking her dog in a section of New York’s Central Park where dogs are required to be on a leash.

Christian Cooper, a Black man of no relation and an avid bird watcher, told Amy Cooper her dog must be on a leash. She called 911. She played the damsel in distress and lied that an African American man had threatened her, which was not true. Christian Cooper filmed the entire interaction and posted it on the internet.

What Amy Cooper did gave me chills. If cops had shown up, they may have killed or arrested Christian Cooper based only on her word.

White women lying about being attacked or raped by Black men is nothing new. In the book “The Lynchings In Duluth,” a White teenager claimed three Black circus workers raped her. A physician examined the teenager and determined she had not been raped.

His determination did not stop a gang of white men from breaking into the jail, overpowering the sheriff, and dragging the men outside and lynching them. The lynchings occurred on June 15, 1920.

Recently, Duluth, Minnesota, unveiled a monument to the men as a way of apologizing.

I can write about these terrible incidents that have happened to Black men, including myself. I was severely beaten by the police after I graduated from the University of Washington. To the cops, I was not unusual. I was just another nigger. But I am asking myself more and more, “What must be done?”

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