Voting was not an option for African Americans until decades after the constitution was ratified. While the constitution gave them freedom, equality, and civil rights, it did not protect them from being viewed as second class citizens and from being treated unfairly. Even to this day, they are still discriminated against and treated/thought of poorly, not only by some people but also by some of the authority figures. If we use our first amendment rights, I believe that we can start a change in how oppressed minorities are treated by everyone. More awareness has been brought to this issue because of marches and protests that people are holding almost weekly.
Day by day we see more videos of young black people being shot by cops while they are unarmed and defenseless. Michael Brown died on August 9, 2014. “Brown was an unarmed black teenager shot by Darren Wilson, a white police officer on the street Ferguson, Missouri. Some said he had his hands up in the air and the shooting led to protests and some violence for 10 days. In November, a grand jury said the officer should not face criminal charges in the case that led to a nationwide discussion about the treatment of black people by white police officers.”(Akkoc). Brown is of course not the only victim of police brutality. Many black people such as Eric Garner and Gil Collar were also defenseless while being restrained and then killed.
The story The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas gives you an insight into the life of an eyewitness of an unarmed police brutality case. The reader can feel the raw emotions of the witness at that moment and can see how her life changed for the better and for the worse afterward. The main character goes through finding herself and what she believes in but she also receives guidance from her parents, family, and community. In response to the death of the victim, the community assembled to protest the police and to fight for justice for the kid. “Keep your hands visible. Don’t make any sudden moves. Only speak when they speak to you.” I knew it must’ve been serious. Daddy has the biggest mouth of anybody I know, and if he said to be quiet, I needed to be quite”(Thomas 20-21 ). This part of the book shows you how feared the police are in the black community when they shouldn’t be. The police are there for protection and security, not to cause fear in the people. They have also broken the trust of the people and created tension between the community and the officers.
People are protesting police brutality everywhere with different methods. “NFL players … across the US knelt or stood with arms … linked during the national anthem to highlight racial injustice and police brutality in America… The Take a Knee movement was started by quarterback Colin Kaepernick who knelt before a pre-season game for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016.”(Lake). When the NFL players took action and started protesting for what they believe in, it encouraged, even more, people to take action against the injustices that are happening all over America. As time goes by, America has become more equal and accepting of everyone, but we still have a lot of room for improvement. The fight against injustice is not over.
Lake, Emma. “NFL Players Defy Donald Trump and Drop to One Knee during the National Anthem.” The Sun, The Sun, 9 Oct. 2017, www.thesun.co.uk/sport/4539225/take-a-knee-nfl-us-national-anthem-donald-trump/.
Akkoc, Raziye. “A Timeline of Police Attacks in the USA.” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 3 Mar. 2015, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11446472/A-timeline-of-police-attacks-in-the-USA.html.
Thomas, Angie. The Hate U Give. Balzer & Bray/Harperteen, 2017.Tags: Okemos High School