• Kyia Young

African-American Culture: Communities should unite in wake of shootings

July 12, 2016

As you may have heard in the past week, the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling, 37, and Philando Castile, 32, were part of the ongoing police brutality in America. Sterling, a native of Baton Rouge, father of three, and known as the "CD man," was shot and killed by two white police officers outside of Triple S Food Mart after 911 received a call stating Sterling was threatening people with his firearm.

According to CNN, "A homeless man made the call to 911 ... after he approached Sterling and asked him for money." However, "The homeless man was persistent, and Sterling showed him his gun." Videos of the police scuffle between Sterling and the Baton Rouge Police Department went viral and ultimately everyone saw the last few minutes of Sterling's life come to an end. What we now know is: the police’s body cameras fell off, the surveillance tape wasn't able to be viewed by the owner of Triple S Food Mart, and Sterling was armed but not dangerous.

Not even a day later, another incident involving Philando Castile was streamed live on video by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds in Minneapolis, Minnesota. From what we know, they were both pulled over by a white officer who asked for their registration and ID, and Castile let the officer know he was licensed to carry a weapon. However, the situation turned as Castile reached for his ID and was shot four times in his arm. For what reason? There was no reason.

"I'm in the middle with Alton Sterling, as far as the grief and the #blacklivesmatter movement,” said Taylor Brown, a black female student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. “I understand that's what current people of color go through nowadays. However, as far as the respect of the police, my dad is an officer here in Lafayette. I see people trying to retaliate against them and it makes me wonder about my dad's safety when he's at work.

“In addition, he explains certain scenarios to me about what could've been the correct outcome or the things the victim would've did wrong that could've led to his death. However, he also tells me whether the officers handled the situation fairly or not. As far as Philando, I'm completely on his side. All of the footage was recorded, and the officer had no right to kill."

Additionally, the unfortunate incident of the Dallas shooting took the lives of five police officers and injured 11. Millions around the world took to social media outlets to express their anger towards all three situations.

Public rallies and vigils are currently being held for Sterling and Castile all over the United States and surrounding areas. As for the #blacklivesmatter movement, I noticed, as I was reading my social media timelines, a lot of people don't understand the premise of it, so let me break it down for you. People who side with the Black Lives Matter movement aren't saying police brutality doesn't happen in other ethnic communities. However, everybody looks at it from a bigger perspective like the #alllivesmatter movement. All Lives DO Matter, however, some people are closed‐minded to the fact that most minorities’ lives are placed on the back burner.

Other races shouldn't try to say what goes on in the lives of black individuals because they don't experience it on a daily basis. One of the reasons why people of color or minorities in general are placed into certain institutions or organizations is for those organizations to not be deemed as "racist" and seem diverse. However, the only thing blacks want is to be respected as human beings and not a skin color.

Also, those in the majority race who would like to get involved or who are in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, speak up and get involved. Opinions can never be wrong, but you not saying anything doesn't help either situation. What can we all do now? Hope for the best and always look out for one another. You never know what tomorrow holds, and there's always a light at the end of the tunnel.

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