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BLACK LIVES MATTER

Black Lives Matter and Multi-skin toned Fists up in protest

Someone asked me how I was doing, and that was the first time I took a moment to reflect on how I was actually feeling outside of complete outrage. 
It's unbelievable to me that Black lives are still being lost at the hands that are meant to protect and serve us, without cause, and in most cases without punishment deserving of the crime. Then those officers are protected and shielded from any punishment by the same institution that systematically oppresses Black people. The duty to Protect and Serve that should be upheld by all officers does not count when it comes to Black people. The unjust murders of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, and now George Floyd (along with countless others) stand to tell the truth about America: that racism is alive, well, and firmly seated at the table. So much so, that when you protest racism and oppressive culture, "red - white - and blue-blooded" American's feel like you are protesting America. And I'm tired.
I still remember when Charles Kinsley was shot. I was crying, broken, and in disbelief that a man laying on the ground with his hands up could STILL be shot by a police officer. That his skin color, the same as mine, gave the officer a reason to shoot him and then leave him handcuffed and bleeding on the ground for 20 minutes before allowing him medical aid. That officer, by the way, was retired, not fired, went to trial years later, and was found not guilty. I remember begging and explaining to friends, coworkers, and anyone who would listen that there was a deep-rooted problem. Using every bit of my ability to be empathetic and compassionate to explain that Colin Kaepernick wasn't protesting America or the Military with his knee - but the continued criminalization and control of the Black community with excessive force as respectfully as possible. And I'm tired. Here in Las Vegas, Byron Williams's death was ruled a homicide while in LVMPD custody 8 months ago. The investigation is still "ongoing". All officers were placed on paid leave and are all back on the force right now "serving" our community and facing off with protesters who are marching on behalf of their actions. No charges. No trial. Nothing. All officers involved turned off their body cams at the same time for 7 minutes, and the footage they did record has not been released. We've seen some edited footage of him laying on the ground with a knee in his back, handcuffed while visually complying with the arrest, repeating that he could not breathe. This should feel personal to all Americans, especially here in Las Vegas. This should not happen, this cannot continue to go unpunished and I'm so tired of asking for Black people to be treated fairly and for justice to be served.

As we see through many U.S. cities, a lot of us are tired of asking, begging, pleading, and trying to compromise for a system that was never set up to serve and protect us, and the institutionalized racism we face in this country. Black people are being murdered and brutalized by police and vigilantes. Then those murderers are protected by interoffice protocol, powerful unions, and silence orders. Enough is enough, and I am done asking. We need action, we need change, and we need it now.

Black Lives Matter is not meant to silence the importance of any other life. Black Lives Matter is not something you put in your Twitter bio to prove to the world you're not a racist. Black Lives Matter is not something you repeat to your Black friends to make them feel better and call that your activism for the day. Black Lives Matter isn't putting Black lives before all others. It's the recognition that Black lives have a proven history of being worth much less (legally 3/5ths of a person) and to this day are being stolen by an unjust criminal justice system starting with our Officers. Black Lives Matter is a call to action. Black Lives Matter is a commitment to challenge racism every time. Black Lives Matter is the defense of Black lives that are being lost at the hands of racists, police, and vigilantes. Black Lives Matter.

Silence to me is compliance. Needing to "protect your peace from all the drama" is a luxury that Black Lives do not have. Keeping your business out of "political conversations" is choosing comfort for the sake of financial gain, and this is not about politics - this is about Black Lives. All Lives Matter is an attempt to dismiss the institutionalized and structural oppression unique to Black people and racism in this country. We can not sit back and allow this to continue, and anything short of action, continuing to have those difficult conversations, and forcing our elected officials to reflect the change we need is not enough. We need to continue to have those conversations, and we need to take action. We need it now.

Here are some resources in the local area to stay in the conversation and get involved in the action:

There's Nothing To Do In Vegas Instagram: This a favorite local resource for events and news and has currently become a HUB for conversations and city-wide activism.

Go Urban Vegas: This Facebook page is a wonderful resource for Black Businesses in Las Vegas to support as well as upcoming events to take note of. 

Black Lives Matter UNLV: Sharing constant information on Local Events and resources and ways you can get involved. 

You do not have to go to a protest to continue the movement. Stay informed, continue to have difficult conversations, and donate where and when you can. We need every single person. You matter to this movement.

BLACK LIVES MATTER

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