Over the course of the last six months, Breonna Taylor has evolved from a young medic’s name to a nation-wide war cry as thousands of Americans stormed the streets, demanding justice for her murder and proof of action towards systemic change. Many of us held out hope, and some semblance of faith in our country’s legislation, that the three officers who riddled Taylor’s body with bullets would face legal recrimination for slaughtering an innocent woman—a woman they swore an oath to protect.

On Sept. 23, 2020, this hope was shattered—our faith betrayed—and the nation wept as the two officers who shot Ms. Taylor were left untouched by the law while the third will be tried only for the bullets that missed her body. According to Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, a New York Times reporter, ex-cop Brett Hankison has been indicted on three charges of “wanton endangerment” for firing his weapon without regard for the safety of the other residents in Taylor’s apartment building. None of Hankison’s shots are believed to have hit Ms. Taylor. Instead, they passed through her walls and into a neighboring apartment, where a family of three was sleeping.

So, what does this ruling mean? As I stated before, there were three officers present, only two of which knocked down the door and fatally shot Ms. Taylor — Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove. Mattingly and Cosgrove are to face no charges for the death of Breonna Taylor, since her boyfriend — who thought they were intruders forcing their way in — shot first and hit Mattingly in the leg. Hankinson, the third officer involved, will be brought to trial for having fired blindly into an apartment neighboring Taylor’s while outside the building. Because Hankinson’s crime is considered a Class D felony in Kentucky, he can only serve a maximum of five years in jail with a fine for each life he endangered, according to the New York Times. People around the world were baffled by how wrong this decision was. Whittier College first-year Tyler Morihiro said, “I just don’t see how that’s possible, how all except one can go uncharged.” His shock and disbelief are shared by many.

In the aftermath of this decision, anger surged, and a large part of the general public took to the streets with newfound vigor. Obviously, because of the circumstances, not everyone is able to protest outside their local police station or face the risk of arrest; adapting to the situation, many Americans are expressing their grief and rage by calling on politicians to pass legislation aimed at protecting Black Americans, as well as signing petitions that demand systemic change. Some people find themselves more upset about the extent to which our justice system needs fixing, such as Chelo Ferschweiler, a second-year at Whittier College, who said, “I’m not angry or outraged; I am disappointed in the world that is being forced upon my shoulder that I will have to bear and change.” Others had a more emotional response to the aforementioned trial’s verdict. Second-year Emily Then said, “I am disappointed . . . because the American government seems to care more about deploying the National Guard in Louisville instead of convicting her murderers. It angers me to no extent to understand that the country that prides itself in freedom and democracy will do anything in its power to silence the voices of those who need to be heard.”

Then brings up a good point — our president would rather meet peaceful protesters with force than acknowledge any wrongdoings by police officers. In fact, he would rather contest these wrongdoings by making statements that actively deny the presence of inequality in the U.S. as it is today. When prompted by reporters to give a message to the public regarding the lack of justice, the president responded with a cold, inaccurate, and insensitive statement: “Well, my message is that I love the Black community and I’ve done more for the Black community than any other president, and I say with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln, and I mean that, with opportunity zones, and with criminal justice reform, with prison reform, with what we’ve done for historically Black universities, colleges, schools. . . . Abraham Lincoln, let’s give him the nod, but beyond that, nobody’s done more. I love the Black community.” Wow, there’s a lot to unpack here.

First of all, he’s just praising himself and not addressing the actual issue at hand. As for claiming to be the most helpful leader for the Black community our country has ever seen, even if that were true — which it’s not — a person can still be racist and take actions that are beneficial for the groups they oppress. For example, Abraham Lincoln was a White supremacist who had no intention of emancipating slaves when running for office. However, once in office, he only took the actions we praise him for, for other political motives. Saying “I love the Black community” doesn’t automatically erase years of prejudicial statements and actions that he has taken against the people that he “loves.”

Personally, I am furious about the events leading up to and including Sept. 23; I despise the men who murdered Ms. Taylor as well as the system that legalized it. Many people seem to think that BLM is a new “trend” that only came to be in the last decade, and while it’s true that the movement itself started in 2013, Black men and women have been oppressed since the moment the first slaves were pushed from boats onto American beaches, and these men and women have been angry the entire time. Once White people joined the fight against White supremacy, any small victory the Black community earned was weaponized by other White people and used to declare the end of racial injustice. However, the recent string of protests was not sparked by any one tragedy but rather by the culmination of hundreds of years of oppression exposed and relived after a cascade of wrongdoings. From Emmett Till to Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin to Michael Brown, Atatiana Jefferson to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor is yet another name added to the list of those wronged by the U.S. government as a result of racial bias. We must do everything we can as citizens of the U.S. to improve the state of this nation for all who live here. It is our responsibility as Americans to take a stand against oppression, not passively spectate and allow it to continue.

Featured Image: Sage Amdahl / Quaker Campus

Previous Post

Premier League Table Prediction: The Top Teams

Next Post

Trump on Full Display as Biden Holds Back

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Next Post

Trump on Full Display as Biden Holds Back