Donald Trump doubled down on his support of the police force and labeled BLM protesters thugs and even threatened to have them shot.
George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Andre Hill. Casey Goodson Jr.. .. .. the list goes on. It's 2020 and African-Americans are still being killed for merely existing. It might be more than 150 years since slavery was done away with, but the African-American community still pays a heavy price as they battle White supremacy, structural racism, and police brutality on a daily basis. The Black Lives Matter movement reached a flashpoint after a video of a Minneapolis cop kneeling on George Floyd's neck did the rounds of the internet. George Floyd pleaded for his life and told the cop, "I can't breathe." It proved to be his final words. Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for eight and a half minutes while Floyd and passerby's pleaded with the cop to ease the weight on the Black man's neck. Floyd died of asphyxiation. The incident highlighted the officer's utter disregard for the life of a Black man. Breonna Taylor, a Black healthcare worker, was killed in the dead of the night after entering her home unannounced. Protests broke out in all 50 states in America with thousands calling for the police force to be defunded and called for the money to be invested in communities. America still has a long way to go before a Black person can feel safe but 2020 appears to have jolted the existing system and hopefully paved the way for change. Here are some of the moments that defined the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.
At 6-years-old, Gianna Floyd is probably too young to comprehend the full ramifications of her father's death but she can tell from the news that her Dad has changed the world. Her father's death sparked protests all over America and across the world including in New Zealand, Britain, Paris, South Korea, and more. Gianna is proud of her Dad. "My Daddy changed the world," says Gianna Floyd, as she sits atop the shoulders of retired NBA star, Stephen Jackson, in a video. Jackson responds to her, "That's right. he changed the world."
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s daughter, Bernice King, shared Gianna's video and one Twitter user poignantly wrote: Nobody knows her burden and pride like you. Bernice King said he once felt the pain that Gianna's experiencing now. “I was five years old when my father was killed by law enforcement. I know that pain, I know that void, I know the journey of anger. I know what people are feeling. I feel it,” said Bernice, in a statement.
At a time when America was simmering with anger from the injustice towards the African-American community, you'd expect a leader to reach out to the community. President Donald Trump did the opposite and labeled them thugs and even threatened to have them shot. In a strongly-worded tweet, Trump wrote: These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Trump also had forces teargas priests and throwing concussion grenades so Trump could get a photo-op in front of the St. John's Church. Mariann Budde, the Bishop, slammed the President for using the bible and the church as a prop and called his message antithetical to that of Jesus,' reported CNN.
The quote "When the looting starts, the shooting starts" originated by a racist white Miami police chief named Walter Headley who targeted black people in 1967 ahead of the Republican convention.— Don Winslow (@donwinslow) May 29, 2020
Donald Trump used the same line tonight to threaten to shoot his own citizens.
3. 7-Year-Old Girl Chants "No Justice No Peace"
Wynta-Amor Rogers captured the attention of other protesters as she fiercely chanted "No justice no peace" during a solidarity march in Merrick, New York against the killing of George Floyd. Rogers might only be seven but she's already grasped the gravity of the issue. The video shows her pumping her fists with fire in her eyes as she chanted along with the other protesters. Wynta-Amor Rogers came along with her mother Lakyia Jackson.
This little girl is among the #BlackLivesMattter protesters in #Merrick. More at #LIHerald tonight. pic.twitter.com/5E1rmD3KqJ— Scott Brinton (@ScottBrinton1) June 3, 2020
…And when the country needed a leader, Donald Trump turned the lights off and hid in a bunker. pic.twitter.com/jzabPC7ZwZ— Santiago Mayer (@santiagomayer_) June 1, 2020
Donald Trump likes to portray a strongman image but was reportedly forced to hide in his bunker out of fear from the protests raging outside the White House. Trump allegedly told his advisors he was worried for his own safety after inciting violence on Twitter. The White House lights were switched off as protesters chanted outside the White House. The bunker was designed to protect the President at times of emergencies such as terrorist attacks but as Americans protested the death of George Floyd, the President was rushed into the bunker and hid by Secret Service agents, according to a Republican with close ties to the White House, reported AP.
So Biden is out on the streets talking to angry, grief-stricken Americans while #BunkerBoy Trump hides in a bunker?— Morgan J. Freeman (@mjfree) June 1, 2020
As a black man in Nashville, Shawn Dromgoole was afraid to walk outside alone — afraid that he wouldn't make it home.— Goodable (@Goodable) May 31, 2020
So he posted on @Nextdoor.
One after another, neighbors offered to walk alongside him.
Now, the entire neighborhood has his back.#KindnessMatters pic.twitter.com/b6DhPDonNd
Shawn Dromgoole lived in an affluent neighborhood 12 South, Nashville. In the wake of Ahmaud Arbery's death, he felt even more uneasy. Arbery was out jogging in Georgia when he was reportedly shot to death by two White people. “What happened to these men could easily happen to me. I became scared to walk past my porch,” he said, reported The Washington Post. He opened up on his anxiety of taking a walk, on Facebook. Then, his phone wouldn't stop ringing. “Neighbor, after neighbor, after neighbor started reaching out, telling me they wanted to walk with me,” he said. Around 6 pm, he stepped out for a walk and was stunned to see 75 people waiting to accompany him. “I was so overwhelmed, I still can’t find the words. Everyone was in masks, so you just saw a sea of people, and you couldn’t even tell what color skin they had,” said Dromgoole.
Black Lives Matter protesters tore down the statues of oppressors including slave traders, owners, confederate generals, and genociders. America has a chequered past and there's no escaping the fact that the country was largely built on exploitation and ethnic cleansing of minorities including African-Americans and Native Americans. Some of America's stellar figures were hugely problematic as well. Some of the statues torn down included that of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Chris Columbus.
Slave trader Edward Colston's statue in Bristol was one of the first to be torn down by protesters. Jen Reid, a Black woman, stood where the statue had stood, on the pedestal, and raised her fist in a Black power salute, in what was one of the defining moments of the Black Lives Matter movement, reported NBC News. The image of Reid standing with a raised fist inspired artist Marc Quinn, who sculpted Jen Reid's statue, and had it installed on the pedestal. Jen Reid said the statue is "something to feel proud of, to have a sense of belonging because we actually do belong here and we're not going anywhere."
Even as people protested against police brutality, the cops exposed themselves as they repeatedly used violent force on protesters. A 75-year-old elderly protester was shoved to the ground in an incident in Buffalo, New York. He was bleeding after he hit his head on the ground. Despite the incident being caught on video, the police department had the audacity to claim 75-year-old Martin Gugino "tripped and fell," reported The Huffington Post. Trump even claimed the elderly man bleeding after hitting his head on the concrete wall was a 'set up.'
Of course this piece of shit’s position is against a 75-year-old man who was shoved to the ground and bled from the ears. pic.twitter.com/3ibYVWvLvk— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) June 9, 2020
"They were running for their lives, so you open the door"— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) June 3, 2020
Washington resident Rahul Dubey sheltered 80 protesters in his home to protect them from arresthttps://t.co/y0C5XMdHwc pic.twitter.com/bpOK6bvvK4
With the protesters refusing to back down, cops resorted to various tactics to stifle the protests including arresting them en masse. As Washington D.C. police cornered protesters into a residential block, Rahul Dubey, a resident, opened his home and signaled them to take refuge there until the cops left. Cops had no authority to enter Dubey's home to arrest the protesters and were left flustered. Dubey stayed up all night along with them as cops waited outside in the hope of getting the protesters to step outside. Dubey had pizza delivered for them while the rest of the community also brought food to offer to them.
It's no surprise that Karens (entitled White people) reared their heads more than ever during the BLM protests. While there were a string of incidents involving Karens, one that stood out was when a White woman accused a man of defacing someone else's property when he was actually writing the message "Black Lives Matter" on the wall of his own house. The woman used a high pitched voice to condescendingly threaten to report him to the cops. "What she did is polite racism. It's respectable racism. 'Respectfully, sir I don't think you belong here,'" said Juanillo, the owner of the house.
This isn't new for the WNBA:— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 27, 2020
➖ Lynx hold press conference in 2016 & wear shirts honoring Philando Castile
➖ Fever kneel during national anthem in '16
➖ Players call for removal of Kelly Loeffler, who opposed Black Lives Matter movement
➖ Season dedicated to Breonna Taylor pic.twitter.com/Gv2Uiv0ARu
Many celebrities lent their voice and support to the Black Lives Matter movement. NBA star LeBron James was seething as he wrote, "We are literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME. Can’t even go for a damn jog man! Women NBA teams have a long history of raising their voice against oppressors. Two WNBA teams walked off court prior to the national anthem as a show of support to the Black Lives Movement and they also wore T-shirts bearing the message “Black Lives Matter” on one side and “Say Her Name” on the other. Dolly Parton didn't mince her words as she said, "Black lives matter. Do we think our little White a**es are the only ones that matter? No!"