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Takeaways from #BlackLivesMatter: A Time to Reflect

In the last few weeks, anger has mounted worldwide over what could be charitably described as eight minutes and forty-six seconds of pure agony aired live right on our screens – eight minutes and forty-six seconds’ worth of footage of Minneapolis police’s use of excessive force that led to the death of George Floyd.

Floyd’s untimely death symbolizes not only a problem limited to America, but a problem that hits close to home especially considering how the present administration conducts its “war on drugs” and handling of dissenting voices that result partly from the former. Racism in this country, while limited to quips (and largely borne out of ignorance more than active hatred), can sometimes rear its ugly head whenever we see someone – local or foreign – different from our kind.

The best way to honor and give justice to George Floyd lies in making sure that everyone, especially those disadvantaged by modern society, can sleep and wake up without being disproportionately treated on the basis of (primarily) being born with a different skin color; and that every citizen across the globe can feel comfortable that their police forces actually do their job to “protect and serve” the community they’re assigned to.

Of course, there are no easy solutions to institutional problems like racism and police brutality, much more so when such structures are marred by feelings of distrust. It may be a long road (or a shorter one, considering that it’s election season on the other side of the Pacific), but the mere fact that the people have given such issues attention to a level not seen since arguably 1992 (from the beatings the late Rodney King endured from the hands of the LAPD) or even the Civil Rights Movement over five decades earlier means that there is still hope not only for America, but for everyone.

Hope in that the struggles of the country’s black community inspire us to reflect on what’s going on in our backyard and give Michael Brown, George Floyd, and countless others justice in our own ways. Hope in that despite the United States’ democratic backsliding, its people have chosen to exercise their rights and inspire others to not only show up at the ballot, but to take part in what keeps the spirit of democracy alive. Hope in that there are police officers who have taken a knee in solidarity with the protesters and that it not only be limited to mere symbolism or an attempt to shore up media and public sympathy, but concrete actions to become part of the solution.

It is up to us to define how we can, directly or otherwise, honor the legacy of the late George Floyd. After all, the goal to end police brutality and racism is a goal that should be shared across the globe. Some of us may not be physically present to take the knee, but there are other ways to do something similar.

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