All lives can’t matter until black lives matter

Griffin Kristensen

On May 25, George Floyd was tragically and unjustly murdered. After putting Floyd in handcuffs, the officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes while three other officers stood to the side and did not intervene. The horrific moment was caught on film by bystanders. In the video, Floyd is seen pleading for help while the bystanders beg the officers involved to stop the deadly chokehold. 

The cop who knelt on Floyd recently had his charges upgraded to second-degree murder in the course of committing third-degree assault. The three cops who did not intervene were recently charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Within the past week, protests and riots have broken out around the nation calling for justice and systemic reform. Unfortunately, many interpret the Black Lives Matter movement as other lives don’t matter. For that reason, some choose to state that all lives matter. It should go without saying that all lives do indeed matter; however, when one specific community is experiencing inequality, it is essential to adjust our focus and advocate for the group in need. 

Additionally, there are those that fixate on the violence of the riots instead of the actual issue. They claim that the violence and looting by the protestors is widespread and that by doing so they are condoning what they are fighting against. In reality, most of the looters are not necessarily part of the movement but rather people using the protests and chaos as an excuse to do so.

Furthermore, “I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard,” said civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr in 1967. 

Simply put: riots are the language of the unheard. Peaceful protests such as kneeling during the national anthem were met with backlash. People felt that it was disrespecting the thousands of soldiers that have fought for the country; however, our soldiers are not the only thing that the flag represents. The flag is supposed to represent our freedom and equality as well, regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity. Because of that,when people kneel during the national anthem, they are protesting that inequality is alive and well and that those in power are doing little to fix that. So, to be upset or to not understand why much of the country is protesting and rioting is absurd. 

On another note, it is simply not enough for this to be a “trend.” Most of us here in Laguna are privileged and not affected by this in our daily lives, so it is extremely easy for this to just be a trend for us. Just because it is not headlined in the news every day does not mean it is not happening. We here in Laguna and all of us around the nation need to vote, advocate for justice and reform, sign petitions, and donate money to the cause as long as inequality exists and innocent lives are being taken. Get involved! Join the No Place for Hate club, educate yourself, and continue to learn and understand.