America, a country that has positioned itself as the ideal for human rights and democracy has been devastated by a civil crisis and an uprising. Following the murder of an unarmed black man, ‘George Flyod’, by four white police officers, at the hem of serial killings of blacks in America, a call for racial justice has led to an uprising. This is a humanitarian crisis. Black rights are human rights. First world nations seem to have gone mute in condemning America over the erupted violence of the killings of black Americans. The youth, women and men, children who came out to join the revolution are being attacked by the police as they attempt a peaceful protest. Many have been injured and arrested in the demonstrations.
Here we explain what is fueling the uprising, the international response so far and a list of how to offer aid to support the affected citizens and organizations protecting them:
Understand the Black Lives Matter Movement
‘Black Lives Matter’ has always been more of a human rights movement rather than a civil rights movement. The fight focuses on social justice, against racism and systemic oppression of blacks in America. Created as a call to action after George Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin. It gained momentum in 2014, when protests erupted following the killing of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and the subsequent failure to indict the officer on any charges.
The mobilization against anti-Black racism and police violence was fueled by more deaths of Black people—at the hands of police officers in 2014 and 2015, their names too numerous to mention here and on going in 2020.
Today, the Movement for Black Lives stands for more than a challenge to extrajudicial killings of Black people by the police; it stands for a challenge to the multiple ways in which Black people are deprived of fundamental human rights and dignity in the United States.
Freedom fighters globally commemorate July 13 as the day that three Black women created this movement. Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometti — are the three women behind the movement. The push for Black liberation from state-inflicted violence has evolved into one of the most influential social movements of the post-civil rights era.
The uprising in America can be seen globally as a plea for basic human rights of a black man in America. With racial killings, police brutality, the continuous systematic oppression, social, economic inequality and the looting of black able unarmed bodies of black Americans, do black Americans need to find safety in another country like the way others in conflict zones seek to find refuge in another country, like America?
As of May 31st 2020, the streets in over 75 cities in these United States of America are finding unrest, an uprising of some sorts. Some have called it protests, and riots. The images from this civil unrest make all too clear how little has changed since the modern Civil Rights Movement began in the 1950s.
So, what was the straw that broke the horses back? The most recent case that has righteously angered the world but especially black Americans is the #GeorgeFlyod murder.
On May 25 in Minneapolis ( a major city in Minnesota) a 46 year old unarmed black man was murdered in cold blood, in broad-daylight by four white American police men. This looting of a black man’s body by four white police officers led to the massive national uprising in almost all States of these United States of America.
The criminal that has been charged with a third degree murder and manslaughter ( not convicted in courts yet, arrested and bail is set at $500k) is a a white Minneapolis police officer named Derek Chauvin. In context of our reporting even though he is yet to be convicted, we will further refer to officer Chauvin as “the criminal”. The criminal knelt on George Floyd’s neck until his body went limp. The murder was caught on video.
This was the third in a string of similar deaths to make global news. In March, police in Louisville, Kentucky, burst into Breonna Taylor’s apartment in the middle of the night. They shot the 26-year-old eight times, killing her in her own home. February, two white men in a pickup truck gunned down Ahmaud Arbery while he jogged through their Georgia neighborhood. The pair admitted to fatally shooting Arbery, but were only arrested for his murder in May due to public pressure. Demonstrations have broken out in at least 75 cities in recent days, with governors and mayors calling the National Guard or imposing curfews on a scale not seen since the aftermath of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.
Trump White House Response
Campaign advisers and aides of the President have urged Trump to deliver a nationally televised address before another night of possible violence. Unfortunately the toddler social media President has decided to continue with tweets that incite more violence and rage.
In one of his early tweets about the uprising, he ended up threatening activists, calling them thugs and looters , also using a racial phrase that was used by a racist Miami police in 1967 “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”; the tweet was later flagged by Twitter for promoting violence.
Hundreds of activists and change-makers continue to gather outside the White House gates, chanting phrases that carry their message of ‘no justice, no peace!’. According to the New York Times, nervous for his safety, Secret Service agents abruptly rushed the president to the underground bunker used in the past during terrorist attacks. The president is said to have hidden for roughly an hour.
Still Ignoring advice, Trump continues to blast series of uncouth messages on Sunday berating Democrats for not being tough enough. The president said his administration “will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization,”; referring to the shorthand for “anti-fascist.” Antifa is a movement of activists who dress in black and call themselves anarchists, not an organization with a clear structure that can be penalized under law. Moreover, American law applies terrorist designations to foreign entities, not domestic groups.
Trump fails to know the law and thus triggering the civil unrest and uprising inciting white supremacists to join in and cause havoc to what activists intend as a peaceful demonstration for their human rights. As white supremacists are being gingered up by Trump’s tweet, violent radicalism increases , confusing the values and messaging of the change-makers who took to the streets intent on conveying.
Some Republicans have spoken against Trump, suggesting Trump as far more divisive than past presidents. His strength, they say, is stirring up his base, not calming the waters.
Take into consideration that at this time, in the hands of Trump, over 100,000 American lives have been lost due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also, note that the economy has collapsed and now, Americans face a racial strife– all successive punches to America that Trump fails to acknowledge. Trump is blatantly refusing to address any of them—other than to issue inflammatory, sometimes self-contradictory, tweets. As Princeton University scholar Julian Zelizer observes, “We have a President who, unlike either Lyndon Johnson or Richard Nixon, doesn’t seem to care about governance. Our commander-in-chief is far less stable than either of these men and seems willing to say and do whatever is on his mind.”
The International Response
In a recent published Op-Ed on Al jazeera, the title, ‘America cannot lecture Africans on human rights’, the author points out facts that should be noted.
So, since Monday, when news of Floyd’s death first surfaced, I have been anxiously waiting to hear a deluge of condemnations from these highly respectable Western nations.The truth is the West does not really care about human rights, especially the human rights of African-Americans and Africans; it just cares about preaching about human rights and striding the world stage with hypocritical pride and a pompous air. For, if it really did care, at all, America would not be witnessing nationwide protests today and its fellow “first world” nations would not be so silent about it. ~ Tafi Mhaka~
According to a TIME’s piece, In countries with authoritarian governments, state-controlled media have been highlighting the chaos and violence of the U.S. demonstrations, in part to undermine American officials’ criticism of their own nations.
GERMANY: German chancellor Angela Merkel rebuffed the president’s invitation to a G-7 meeting this summer. The U.S. Embassy in Berlin was the scene of protests on Saturday evening under the motto: “Justice for George Floyd.” Police said the gathering, organized through social media, was larger than expected but reported no arrests.
RUSSIA: Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement warning American police against attacking journalists. “This incident is far from the first in a series of lawless conduct and unjustified violence from U.S. law enforcement,’’ the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “American police commit such high-profile crimes all too often.’’
CHINA: China is increasingly emboldened, declaring that it will “smash” any attempt by Taiwan at independence and threatening liberties in Hong Kong.
In China, the protests are being viewed through the prism of U.S. government criticism of China’s crackdown on anti-government protests in Hong Kong.
Hu Xijin, the editor of the state-owned Global Times newspaper, tweeted that U.S. officials can now see protests out their own windows: “I want to ask Speaker Pelosi and Secretary Pompeo: Should Beijing support protests in the U.S., like you glorified rioters in Hong Kong?”
Hua Chunying, a Chinese Foreign ministry spokeswoman, pointed out America’s racial unrest by tweeting “I can’t breathe,” which Floyd said before his death.
IRAN: In Iran, which has violently put down nationwide demonstrations by killing hundreds, arresting thousands and disrupting internet access to the outside world, state television has repeatedly aired images of the U.S. unrest. One TV anchor discussed “a horrible scene from New York, where police attacked protesters.” Another state TV message accused U.S. police agencies in Washington of “setting fire to cars and attacking protesters,” without offering any evidence.
LEBANON: Over the weekend, Lebanese anti-government protesters flooded social media with tweets sympathetic to U.S. protesters, using the hashtag #Americarevolts. That’s a play on the slogan for Lebanon’s protest movement — Lebanon revolts — which erupted on Oct. 17 last year. Within 24 hours, the hashtag #Americanrevolts became the No. 1 trending tag in Lebanon.
LONDON: Thousands gathered in central London on Sunday to offer support for American demonstrators. Chanting “No justice! No peace!” and waving placards with the words “How many more?” at Trafalgar Square, the protesters ignored U.K. government rules banning crowds because of the pandemic. Police didn’t stop them.
Demonstrators then marched to the U.S. Embassy, where a long line of officers surrounded the building. Several hundred sat in the street and waved placards
CONGO: The ambassador to Congo, Mike Hammer, highlighted a tweet from a local media entrepreneur who addressed him saying, “Dear ambassador, your country is shameful. Proud America, which went through everything from segregation to the election of Barack Obama, still hasn’t conquered the demons of racism. How many black people must be killed by white police officers before authorities react seriously?”
Nations around the world continue to watch in horror at the five days of civil unrest in the United States following the death of George Flyod. ‘Racism-tinged events no longer startle even America’s closest allies.”
How To Help?
A List of Verified Humanitarian Organizations to send financial aid to:
- GoFundMe for George Floyd’s family.
- GoFundMe for Ahmaud Arbery’s mother
- Minnesota Freedom Fund and the Brooklyn Bail Fund
- The Bail Project, a nonprofit that aims to mitigate incarceration rates through bail reform.
- Black Visions Collective, a black, trans, and queer-led social justice organization and legal fund based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
- The National Bail Fund Network
- A Gas Mask Fund for black youth activists in Minneapolis is raising money to buy gas masks for demonstrators who’ve faced tear gas during protests.
- The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which supports racial justice through advocacy, litigation, and education.
- Communities United Against Police Brutality, which operates a crisis hotline where people can report abuse; offers legal, medical, and psychological resource referrals; and engages in political action against police brutality.
- Northstar Health Collective, a St. Paul–based organization that provides health services and support at protests.
- The ACLU, which provides legal services and support for a broad range of people with civil rights complaints.
- Free Them All for Public Health, which aims to free incarcerated people amid the coronavirus pandemic, is raising money for people who have been arrested during New York City protests over the weekend. What doesn’t go toward local bail will reportedly be sent to other cities, and COVID Bailout NYC.
- The Atlanta Solidarity Fund is raising bail and bond money for jailed protestors in Atlanta.
- No New Jails NYC aims to keep the city from constructing new jails, and to instead divert funds that currently go toward the police and incarceration toward housing, ending homelessness, mental health, and other community support systems.
- The Know Your Rights Camp, an organization founded by Colin Kaepernick that provides education and training in black and brown communities, set up a legal fund for Minneapolis protestors.
- Fair Fight, an organization founded by Stacey Abrams that aims to end voter suppression and equalize voting rights and access for fairer elections.
- Use this LINK (https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/) to also learn more about other resources.
- Colorofchange Justice Petition for George Flyod
- Check out this national list by Rolling Stones