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by Morgan Osman
June 05, 2020
NO JUSTICE NO PEACE
July 17, 2014: Eric Garner, 27 year old father of six, dies in a confrontation with Officer Daniel Pantaleo after the officer placed him in chokehold. Police had suspected Garner of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes on the street on New York City’s Staten Island. He was unarmed. After Garner told the police that he was tired of being harassed and that he was not selling cigarettes, the officers attempted to arrest Garner. When Pantaleo placed his hands on Garner, Garner refused to cooperate and pulled his arms away. Pantaleo then placed his arm around Garner's neck and wrestled him to the ground. With multiple officers restraining him, Garner repeated the words “I can’t breathe” 11 times while lying face down on the sidewalk. After Garner lost consciousness, officers turned him onto his side to ease his breathing. Garner remained lying on the sidewalk for seven minutes while the officers waited for an ambulance to arrive. Garner was pronounced dead at an area hospital approximately one hour later. Video footage of the incident generated widespread national attention and raised questions about the appropriate use of force by law enforcement. A grand jury weighing whether to indict Pantaleo finds “no reasonable cause” to bring charges against him, triggering protests. Pantaleo was fired on August 19, 2019, more than five years after Garner's death.
February 23, 2020: Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was jogging in a neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia when retired district attorney investigator Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, armed with a shotgun and a pistol, hopped in a pick up truck and chased after Mr. Arbery. They sped ahead of him, parked in the street, and cut him off. In the video Mr. Arbery can be seen running around the truck blocking the road, in an effort to escape. Travis awaits him. A shot is fired. Unarmed Arbery tussles with him, desperately fighting for his life. Two more shots are then fired. Arbery tries to fight. He tries, again, to run. He takes about seven short strides before he falls to his death. William "Roddie" Bryan filmed the murder from his truck. This video didn’t hit the media until the beginning of May, 2020. Until then, Mr. Arbery’s mother had suffered in silence with no answers and no arrests made. But after an article by The New York Times, and increased attention from lawmakers, celebrities and civil rights activists, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation stepped in. The police arrested the two men, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael and charged them with murder and aggravated assault in the killing of Mr. Arbery. The state agency said Travis McMichael had fired the fatal shots. This video was beyond hard to watch. I remember being utterly shocked, covering my mouth as tears filled my eyes. I felt sick to my stomach with anger. After weeks of investigation, the 3rd man involved who filmed the murder, William "Roddie" Bryan was also arrested. A judge has ruled that the cases against all three defendants charged with murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery can advance to the trial court. During a probable cause hearing June 4th, Magistrate Court Judge Wallace Harrell found that there is enough evidence for the cases against Greg and Travis McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan to proceed. The lead Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent in the case also testified that the gunman said a racial slur as Arbery lay dying. Agent Richard Dial said the driver of the second pickup truck, Bryan, said he heard the gunman say a racist epithet as he stood over Arbery's body before police arrived. The statement will also be crucial for federal investigators who have launched a hate crime investigation. Investigators will be looking at evidence that suggests Ahmaud Arbery was killed because of his race, and a racial slur during or after the crime would be considered evidence of that.
The Men Charged In The Murder Of Arbery:
March 13, 2020: Shortly after midnight Louisville police, executing a search warrant, used a battering ram to crash into the apartment of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African-American emergency room technician. After a brief confrontation, they fired several shots, striking her at least 8 times. According to The Louisville Courier Journal, the police were investigating two men who they believed were selling drugs out of a house that was far from Ms. Taylor’s home. But a judge had also signed a warrant allowing the police to search Ms. Taylor’s residence because the police said “The believed that one of the two men had used her apartment to receive packages.” The judge’s order was a so-called “no-knock” warrant, which allowed the police to enter without warning or without identifying themselves as law enforcement. The Louisville police say that they only fired inside Ms. Taylor’s home after they were first fired upon by Kenneth Walker, Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend, who was in bed with her. Mr. Walker, 27, has said that he feared for his life and only fired in self defense, believing that someone was trying to break into the home. He didn’t know these were police officers, and they found no drugs in the apartment. None. Ms. Taylor’s family also said it was outrageous that the police felt it necessary to conduct the raid in the middle of the night. Their lawyers say the police had already located the main suspect in the investigation by the time they burst into the apartment, but they then proceeded to spray gunfire into the residence with a total disregard for the value of human life. There was no body cam footage from the raid. Breonna Taylor's mother called for the firing of the Louisville officers who fatally shot her daughter, Metro Council members pushed for the conclusion of the monthslong investigation into the death. "The fact that Breonna Taylor tragically lost her life in our community on March the 13th, and here we are, June the 1st, and that case has not been completed yet — is unacceptable," said Louisville Metro Council President David James, flanked by other members of Metro Council leadership. Today June 5, 2020 is Breonna Taylor’s Birthday. Happy Birthday Angel.
As you can imagine, this coming right after the death of Ahmaud Arbery did not sit well with anyone, no matter your race. People were furious and it didn’t take but one more incident to rapidly unravel our nation in this never ending battle over racism.
May 25, 2020: I woke up like any other day, opened my phone and saw the horrific video that has forever changed our lives. In a 10 min cell phone video taken in Minneapolis, Minnesota you can see Derek Chauvin, the officer who pinned George Floyd to the ground and kept his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, 2 minutes and 53 seconds of that time occurred after Mr. Floyd became unresponsive, eventually leading to his death. You can hear Floyd repeatedly yell out “I can’t breathe,” “They’re going to kill me,” and “Mama mama” before he took his last breath. Makes you wonder how any person could ignore someone pleading for his life in that way. You have to be a stone-cold sociopath to do so. Law enforcement is never taught this method of restraint and Mr. Floyd was already in handcuffs, face down not resisting arrest. Officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas K. Lane participated in Floyd's arrest, with Kueng holding Floyd's back, Lane holding his legs, and Thao looking on and preventing intervention by an onlooker as he stood nearby. Before he knelt on Floyd's neck, Chauvin was the subject of 18 prior complaints filed against him with the Minneapolis Police Department's Internal Affairs. Officer Tou Thao, who was also involved in Floyd's arrest, had 6 complaints filed with internal affairs, one of which was still open. Officer Chauvin and Floyd worked together at the El Nuevo Rodeo club, down the street from Minneapolis' Third Precinct, former club owner Maya Santamaria told CNN. Floyd worked some Tuesdays as extra security. Chauvin worked as an off-duty police officer for the club for nearly 17 years, Santamaria said. The day after Chauvin's arrest, an attorney for his wife Kellie filed for a dissolution of marriage. At this moment (May, 27th) the other 3 officers involved have not been arrested and that sent this nation into an uproar. Like every other video, this one made me sick, angry and emotional. Little did we know, this was the video that was going to turn America upside down making history, demanding justice for all African Americans who have been violently mistreated, murdered and muted for decades by law enforcement. Peaceful protests started all over the country, in all 50 states to be exact, demanding justice for Floyd. Demanding the other officers involved be arrested and charged. Each day that went by, with no arrests made, people became more and more angry. While most people stayed focused on justice and unity, others took advantage of the chaos and caused mass destruction all over the nation. They destroyed any and everything in site. Looting began and lasted for days/nearly a week. Unlike the past protests/riots in local communities, people took to “rich” areas to destroy and steal. Luxury shops, strip malls, famous upper class streets and large cooperations were the main target while unfortunately, many small businesses were vandalized as well.
- Update: June 3rd, the three former Minneapolis police officers were arrested and charged with aiding and abetting murder in connection with the death of George Floyd. Officer Chauvin has been charged with a new, more serious count of second-degree murder.
The Officers Charged In The Murder Of Floyd:
It left many wondering and worrying, how many times must we watch African American people killed and make snuff films go viral only to be let down by the justice system? How many murder videos can one consume before we lose pieces of our souls? When will justice for African Americans look like not having to fear for their lives in the first place?
The Many Black Lives Taken In Recent Years:
When I decided to write this blog post, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be. I wanted to voice my opinion, emotions and personal experiences directed at the black lives matter movement and current events. I wanted to explain how this last week has made me feel and what I wish for our future. I’ve seen so many celebrities say “I’m at a loss for words” or “I didn’t know how to say what I’m feeling.” I thought, “How can they not know what to say.” I thought it was a copout because they were trying to be politically correct or stay in a safe zone. As I started to write, I too realized, I can’t really put into words what I’m feeling as easily as I thought I could. I knew that I wanted to voice my feelings on behalf of African Americans, what I’ve seen with my own eyes and what I dealt with growing up, but I didn’t realize how many other different types of racism we deal with. I’m sorry, I did realize. I’ve always known but what I mean is, I didn’t realize so many other topics would start popping up in my mind, distracting me from what my main focus was. I started thinking about people who are bullied and murdered for being gay, transgender or just “different.” I thought about direct discrimination in schools when a child is treated less favorably on the grounds of gender, disability, race, sexual orientation, religious belief or age. I started thinking about people who are animal rights activists who frown upon anyone who eats meat, wears fur or leather. Passionate activists who show up to events and attack people for doing such. My mind started to go everywhere. I realized that every single day someone somewhere is dealing with racism, not just African Americans. This didn't take away from the extensive injustice African Americans have dealt with for centuries, it just left me overwhelmed and confused as to how I was going to get this all into writing. I became so emotionally invested I decided to go out and protest. I knew that not until I got a chance to feel what everyone else was feeling would I be able to better understand it in it's entirety. On Saturday May 30th, I attended what I thought was a peacful protest on the West Hollywood/Beverly Hills line. It was pretty peaceful in comparison to what took place later that evening, but a lot of vandalism had already started taking place and that's not what I went for. It wasn't scary or violent (nothing I hadn't see as a kid) so thankfully I was able to spend about an hour with the people. In that short time, I was able to see and feel so much resilience, passion, pain and pride. It was exactly what I needed. I went home feeling much more aware and grateful to have felt it and understand it better. I've NEVER been one to shy away from my feelings/beliefs no matter what anyone thinks. Let me be clear, I'm not here to play it safe. FUCK SAFE! Never been, never will be. I believe that what is taking place now is long overdue and I felt compelled to speak on this topic for the people who feel they can't. My voice reaches many and it's important to stand for something. I've decided there is no point to get political in this post. I'm pretty sure you all know where I stand when it comes to our current president, but I also know that long before him racism existed, so no need to even go there. Like many of you, I’ve spent the last week glued to my phone and television watching as more and more horrific videos surfaced. I don’t know if it was “right” per say, but I wanted to stay informed. Social media has consumed many of us for the wrong reasons. Pretty much all of us are guilty of comparing ourselves to other peoples looks, financial status, lifestyles, and obsessing over what we wish we had. But! When used for the right reasons, it can be extremely powerful and informative. The police brutality continued day in and day out all across the country. Literally every hour a new video surfaced of someone being injured or killed by a police officer and unfortunately, even by one another. Innocent lives were taken as chaos filled the streets. The largest civil right movement in history! Over 10,000 arrests were made during the protests. Yes, over 10,000 people were arrested while we waited for the arrest of the 3 other officers involved in George Floyd’s death.
Pictures Of Peaceful Protests Across America Lasting 8 days:
Property Destruction Amidst Protests:
Police Brutality During The Protests:
As you all know, this comes on top of the already terribly trying times we have all faced for just under 3 months due to COVID-19. I’m sure many of you have your own beliefs on this topic. It would take me forever to explain what I feel are the facts, conspiracies, and reasoning behind this three month pandemic. Yes, I’ve read it all. Yes, I’ve watched countless conspiracy theory documentaries like most of you have. Will we ever REALLY know the truth. No. Do we ever? Nope. That’s why it’s called a theory, and unfortunately it’s the reality. We are seeing increases in domestic violence, anxiety, depression, unemployment, loss, grief, and an increase in divorce. When our relationship with society is affected, our relationships with each other are too. It’s taken lives, it’s put families out of work and into debt. It’s caused people to lose their homes and live in shelters. It’s destroyed our economy, and for most, it’s mentally drained them more than they like to show/admit. Experts believe it will be a long time before business operations resume the same sense of normalcy they had at the beginning of 2020. It remains to be seen how many of these individuals who were temporarily laid off are actually able to return to work – and when that return might take place. Here in Los Angeles, we had just started to open our county at the time of Mr. Floyd’s death. Not but 2 days later, a curfew was enforced due to the protests and looting setting us even further back. As the protests began, there was both a sense that the country had been through this before — too many times — and that the stakes had begun to shift. As the LAPD struggled to keep the city under control, many peope took advantage vandalizing any and everything. Unfortunately we all know, this takes away from the actual problem at hand. Personally, I believe, this is what happens when one of the wealthiest countries in the world does not understand the poor and the have-nots. 40 million people out of work with unemployment the highest it’s been since the Great Depression. For white Americans, unemployment rose to 14.2%. For blacks and African Americans, unemployment soared to 16.7%, while the rate jumped to 18.9% for those of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. "Today's unemployment report only confirms what we already knew – this is the worst economic crisis we have faced in decades," Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. People have been cooped up inside of their houses, waiting for stimulus checks. During the entire process we watched the rich get richer. U.S. billionaires saw their fortunes soar by $434 billion during the nation’s lockdown between mid-March and mid-May. Mentally and emotionally people have had enough and amidst it all, have to sit back and watch African Americans being killed every day. All this country needed was ONE reason, and America has given African Americans 400+ years of reasons to “go crazy” as it denies them of equality and justice. Between that and black people being broken from dealing with hundreds of years of racism and bigotry, what we have right now is a perfect storm of people (all races) who are ready to burn white supremacist society to the ground. This is what happens when a country promises liberty and justice for all, but doesn’t do so. Yes, I’ve also read in depth about conspiracy theories surrounding George Soros funding the protests and riots, Antifa, and some even going as far as to say “George Floyd’s death is a hoax” to start a race war. Listen. Like I stated before, we will NEVER know the truth. Period. What we do know, and what we can’t turn a blind eye to is the COUNTLESS black men and woman who have lost their lives to racism, whether it be from police or racist civilians who feel they can take matters into their own hands. I don’t think Soros called his good ol’ buddy racist fucking friend George Zimmerman and said “Hey, make sure you kill that unarmed 17 year old black boy walking home from the store with skittles and a bottle of juice” known as the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. My point is, conspiracies or not, I don’t give a shit why, it is absolutely intolerable for black men and women to be killed at such high rates. I firmly believe that no one person is overseeing all of these deaths, such as Soros. What you believe you are entitled to. Is the entire government and justice system corrupt, yup! It is. No, it's not just "one bad apple." The entire system is fucked, but BLACK LIVES MATTER! And people will find every reason/excuse to point the finger anywhere except the people at fault. They will pretend not to notice and act as if it isn’t happening right under thier noses. It’s insulting to say the least.
Growing up I dealt with a lot of pain and suffering from my own encounters with racism. As I stated in my previous blog posts my mother moved me constantly between a predominantly urban city filled with Spanish and black people, and a very affluent predominantly white town. My mother is white, very fair skinned with blonde hair and blue eyes. My father is BLACK. I say that in capital letters because to this day, so many people still don’t want to accept it. Tony Osman is black and not light skinned. He was in and out of my life until I was about 14. I’m not sure why, he wasn’t a bad man. My fathers mother, my Nana, Mariam Osman was very present throughout that time. She was loving and kind. As my mother moved me back and forth I always found it very difficult to fit in. In the urban city, New Britain Connecticut, I was constantly bullied, beat up, jumped and never excepted because I was extremely skinny, very pale and basically had no “black features.” I would have to borrow my friends clothing, Jordan sneakers, oversized sweatpants and lean on my only three friends to keep me safe and help me fit in. I was never trying to be someone I wasn’t. I was exactly who I was, but no matter what I did it didn’t work. I was young and this really took a toll. Constantly proving who I was solely based off of my skin color. Had I been 3 shades darker I would have been accepted. We used the word nigga casually amongst all of us. It wasn’t a racial slur it was how we spoke to each other. As an adult I tend to be more careful using it in fear of being disrespectful even though I’m half black. My siblings look more mixed than I do. My older brother, Taylor, was raised in the predominantly white town and was the minority. He dealt with racism in the opposite way than I did. He was in gifted and talented, an amazing singer performing in the local plays and singing in the church choir. He played sports and was raised very well by my grandparents. I know he felt out of place a lot throughout his youth as well. He was literally one of less than a handful of black kids in his entire High School. Speaking from experience I know how it feels to be discriminated against based on appearance. Obviously in my adult life, I haven’t dealt with racial profiling given the fact that I don’t look black at all. I’m very aware of this. But still to this day, I have to constantly defend myself simply based on the way I look. I also worry for my siblings. My younger brother, Mason, who many of you have seen on my instagram over the years has had his fair share with racism. From police encounters to fights with Mexicans and Armenians simply because he’s black. In recent years he was shot at by an Armenian. He was attacked, minding his business, on his roller blades by a Mexican who tried to hit him with his car. The man got out and wanted to fight him for no apparent reason. My brother beat his ass ;) but still, it was all due to racism. Maybe that’s why I am passionate about this topic. It goes a lot deeper for me than people realize. When I post something on instagram you guys aren’t expected to know the back story, and quite frankly I don’t need to explain myself every time. Since this has become an international topic in the last week I felt now was the time. Now was my chance to use my voice and encourage others to use theirs. Even if you don’t have a history like mine, why stay silent when people are dying. It’s pretty fucking simple. We are all human. We are all fighting our own fight. Why are we attacking each other based on the color of our skin. We didn’t choose which shade our skin would be. We didn’t choose which country we would be born in. We didn’t have a say when we entered this world innocent and pure. It’s completely disgusting and unacceptable to treat people as if they are beneath you because they don’t look like you. It’s evident this is passed on through generations. Beliefs taught to us by our families, friends and people in power.
Me With My Best Friend Portia and her Mother as Teens:
Portia and I with The Rock (cardboard cutout lol):
A Card I Wrote To Portia Around Age 14:
My Older Brother Taylor:
My Younger Brother Mason:
Mason With My Other Childhood Best Friend Ashley:
Mason, His Brother Jhourdan and I:
I could go on and on and quote our greatest black leaders who paved the way for racial equality. I could dive deep into history and repeat what we’ve known for centuries. It’s all on google at your disposal. Again, for some reason, this wasn’t as easy to write as I assumed it would be. I feel like there is so much more I want to say. I feel like this topic is one that will never have an ending. I don’t feel like, I know. It won’t ever end. I wanted to let out what I was feeling and be able to look back at it. 2020 will go down in history and we are only half way through the year. I want people to stop pretending and following just for the sake of doing so. If you don’t feel the same way as I do, that’s fine. Don’t “follow” my lead but make sure you stand for something. And fucking be proud. Who gives a shit what anyone thinks. Seriously though. If I want to scream BLACK LIVES MATTER from my fucking rooftop I will. No. I didn’t say all lives matter. I said BLACK LIVES MATTER! Because that’s how me, myself and I feel. Don’t lie, don’t cheat and don’t steal. Be a stand up citizen. Take pride in yourself and your beliefs. Stop bitching in private. Get out and fucking make a change. No, this blog won’t change racism. I’m not claiming I am. But, I’m not a follower and you all know I do whatever I can whenever I can to TRY and make a difference. I’ve never voted before. Embarrassing as fuck, but I registered this morning. By the way, it’s 3:20am and I’m just finishing this post. I’ve put it off all week and it was the worst idea ever. Never again. Procrastination won’t get you anywhere. Anyway, I registered to vote and I’m proud of myself. The change starts with YOU! I love you guys. Stay safe. Keep your minds healthy. This year is FUCKING INSANE! When we come out on the other side we are going to be really grateful.
One quote to from the goat:
“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside while still alive. Never surrender.” - TUPAC
June 19, 2020
Love this and you. Supported you back then and always will. You will always be that bitch. ❤️
June 18, 2020
Perfectly, written my love. Much love and peace to you xxx
June 05, 2020
Well said. Raw and real.
Love this post and thank you for sharing your personal experiences, I know that’s not easy ❤️
This was perfect. Thanks for showing your support. I know you’ve made a lot of people open their eyes to what BLM stands for and why they push so hard for justice. Your family is beautiful.
I want to thank you for making this post and speaking out when a lot of people would refrain from doing so – I’ve been following you since early 2012 and I’m happy I did!
The reality is, police brutality against Black people has been present for a very long time.
I’m quite disturbed that no one has commented on this post yet. A lot of people have shown their true colours by staying absolutely silent/ignoring the elephant in the room, or say racially insensitive things about Black people wanting JUSTICE to be served.
I’ve seen every excuse in the book “well…white people get killed by police too” “all lives matter!” and “what about Black-on Black crime?”
These “arguments” are quite deflective of the issue at hand and are made by racists to feel comfortable in their own reality.
If white people get killed by police too, why are you not angry? If all lives matter, why is it a problem when Black lives matter? Do Black people commit crime against each other for being Black?
I am a young Black woman born in Canada, and growing up was not easy. Yes, racism does exist here but Canadians are “kinder” with it – the casual racism and micro-aggressions I’ve experienced is through the roof. Being followed around stores, being called racial slurs for rejecting men, having my hair touched without my consent, to even jobs straight up denying me because they must keep a “White” face.
As unfortunate as my experiences were/still are, it’s what shaped me into the assertive woman I am.
I will always speak up about systemic anti-Black racism, Black lives matter!