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  4. Opinion: George Floyd’s Killing and the Black Lives Matter Protests Against Police Brutality

Protests erupted around the country, and demonstrations against police brutality occurred throughout the world in response to Floyd’s death. Petitions and calls to have all four officers responsible for his death were immediately followed by peaceful demonstrations. However, those protests quickly escalated into countless weeks of civil unrest that wreaked havoc across major American cities, impacting lives, devastating businesses, and destroying buildings.

So what has come of last summer’s endless period of strife and turmoil? The protests revealed that perhaps for the first time in U.S. history,  the moment had come for a national reckoning with the country’s past. They brought closer scrutiny of the bastions and strongholds of systemic racism and the countless ways it manifests. They also brought to the world’s attention the far-too-frequent instances of violence inflicted upon minority communities by the very people hired to protect and serve everyone. It seems only natural that after so many well-documented instances of this type of injustice, people would eventually wake up and begin raising their voices against a system that continues to oppress.

Derek Chauvin, the lead officer in Floyd’s arrest, was unanimously convicted of murder by a jury in Minneapolis. His conviction represents a seldom-seen outcome in police brutality cases. It perhaps paves the way for not only the three other officers, in this case, to be held accountable, but for countless others who in recent weeks have been involved in fatal shootings of black and brown people. While the jury is still out on whether convictions of police officers will become the new status quo, one thing is certain: the Black Lives Matter Movement has become a worldwide call-to-action against police brutality. Thanks, particularly to the ubiquity of social media and video, the movement’s mission has found a place in mainstream discourse. Some have even likened the groundswell of support for the BLM movement to the Civil Rights Movement. Though some may rail against its message, BLM has succeeded in shining a light on a system overdue for significant change. We are once again reminded that enough people banding together can bring forth change, and perhaps most importantly, that the people will always be heard, no matter how drastic things seem.