S. Yumi Yamamoto
The Deep Breath After the Scream
There's a lul on social media. I was expecting it. After all, we are notorious for getting outraged for a moment and then forgetting our outrage a few moments later. When something else comes along. When it's no longer trending. When we want to talk about the positive things. When we want to see cute pictures of puppies and kittens and talk about our own lives.
It happens. Let's not pretend like it doesn't.
This time feels different, however. I can't decide how or why. Maybe it's because 2020 has been a shit year. Maybe it's because we've had enough. Maybe it's because COVID-19 has given us time to stew in our anger. Maybe it's because Millenials are old enough to have a "voting presence", and Gen Z is finally old enough to vote and they are coming into adulthood. Maybe it's because it's an election year, and the consensus is that it's screwed. Maybe we're all tired. Maybe it's all of these things.
We've crossed into the second week of protests. My twitter feed was overflowing with videos from all over the world about George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. When the protests and riots in Minneapolis began, it felt like a scream that lasted for days. And while people were arguing about looting and burning buildings and fighting back, that scream continued. The sound focused and pierced through the din of social feeds. It exposed people and businesses for who they were. It exposed the falsehood of narratives, the fake tears and photo ops, the media who focused on the sensational, the news outlets that covered up police brutality. Most of all, it exposed our own collective lack of support for the Black community.
Now, after the four police officers involved in George Floyd's death have been arrested and charged, and marches have been attended, and the petitions have been signed, and the videos have been made... there is a lull. My feeds are still littered with petitions, with memorials, with protests that are still happening all over the country. In between these posts are the pictures of cute puppies and kittens, and links to new entertainment, and announcements for positivity. I think this is necessary. We've run out of breath. We need to take in the air again.
But I hope this is just a breath. I hope things don't just go "back to normal". They can't. They shouldn't.
The support we've shown the Black Lives Matter movement and the Black community is amazing, but we can't let it end here. If this is the moment you've decided to commit, then follow through. If you've signed petitions, keep signing them. If you can vote, vote EVERY CHANCE YOU GET. If you want to make a difference, EDUCATE yourself on issues and policies and candidates and issues that make you wildly uncomfortable. If you've bought from Black-owned businesses, keep buying from them. If you've subscribed to Black creators, keep engaging with their content.
Take this breath and keep screaming until they listen, and keep screaming until they change. I know I will. That's a promise. This is my accountability.
Black Lives Matter. Say their names. Don't forget them.
https://blacklivesmatter.com/ https://www.aclu.org/ https://www.naacp.org/