I've sat and struggled for the last few days on how to write this piece. On my blog here, I like to highlight social issues that I feel need to be spoken about in society. And this one is no different, apart from the fact for the first time I don't know where to start.
The killing of Alton Sterling is appalling, him being the 558th person killed by a police officer in this year alone... and we're only just over halfway through 2016. The fact that he was a father of five simply selling CDs, as he had done so for many years, to be detained then shot dead is disgusting.
Like many of us, as unfortunate and sad as it is to say, hearing of police killing black people has increasingly become commonplace that you start to become almost desensitised to it. That's how sickening it is, it becomes one of those unfortunate events that you commonly hear about.
I only recently understood the magnitude of the issue of white police officers killing black people when I watched a documentary about skin lightening in the US and they showed where it had stemmed from showing images of lynching of black people, simply done because someone disliked the colour of their skin. And this was done so openly in public settings in the past.
This was the first time I'd even heard about it, bear in mind even though I'm black, I'm British so I have a limited understanding of America's full history of their treatment towards black people. And honestly? I've never been so shocked at something that was considered normal and be justified as "if you were walking in the wrong neighbourhood at the wrong time and you were black" and suddenly it started to make more and more sense to how close to the happenings of today it was. This wasn't the slave trade which was our ancestors from hundreds of years ago and you'd think people would learn from them. This was from this very generation's great-grandparents' generation. And it started to make sense that today's killing of black people by police officers is modern day, legalised lynching. It's not just a series of unfortunate coincidental events. It's the people behind the white supremacy groups, the people behind the institutional racism who purposely take on these roles of the people who are supposed to protect us to attack us. And they get away with it. Just like that.
It's a disappointing fact that I consider myself to be fortunate because I'm thankful enough to live somewhere where I don't fear a police car slowing down by me as I walk down the street fearing that's the day I die because of the colour of my skin. Irregardless of if I have a criminal record or I'm doing something wrong. It should not be a 'privilege' to be able to walk down the street and not fear getting randomly shot at by police, it's a human right. I can't imagine what that feels like to fear the police approaching you when you have done nothing wrong, are minding your own business and to be scared beyond belief of if that police officer is in the mood for killing you today because of the colour of your skin and that no one will do anything about it. Or what it's like to raise your kids to be good people but to not be able to fully trust the police if God forbid they are in situations where they need help and to listen to the authority that have officers that want to kill them for reasons only to do with the colour of their skin.
Each time this happens these names becomes associated with footage of their deaths broadcasted on the news and a new hashtag on social media and the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter trends again on Twitter, then you get the ignorant minds of others brushing it under the carpet, providing invalid excuses or asking why isn't it #AllLivesMatter ignoring the main problem and are part of the problem.
Its easy to forget that this is the loss of someone's mother, father, sister, brother, wife or husband and their lives are impacted forever due to the selfish, ignorant, hateful motives of someone who is authorise to protect and serve their country and will get to go home to their families and be free after murdering an innocent life for their racist motives. And this happens almost everyday in the American black community. No child should have to stand on national television to support their mother as she reads out to a press conference of their father's death after being detained then shot several times by police officers, which they had to watch on news outlets or have to console their distraught mother who's in handcuffs as she speaks to a Facebook live feed of her boyfriend's who was just killed by a police officer whilst he reached to the back of the car to show his registration as asked.
My sincere thoughts and prayers go out to the lives and families of those impacted by these senseless acts and that we, and those of all races can come together to stand against this and rise above and continue to support the campaign that black lives matter and be a part of this to ensure change takes place because how much heartbreak of black people's lives being taken by those in power, instated to protect people for us to all be on board to force change. This is not just a black people issue, fussy and foremost this is a issue in humanity.