George Floyd’s murder has sweeping effects on America

Yet another Black man has lost his life at the hands of U.S. law enforcement.

Thousands+of+citizens+took+to+city+streets+to+protest+the+tragic+death+of+George+Floyd.+Pictured+here+is+a+Vancouver+street+filled+with+demonstrators+on+Sunday%2C+May+31%2C+2020.

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

Thousands of citizens took to city streets to protest the tragic death of George Floyd. Pictured here is a Vancouver street filled with demonstrators on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

George Floyd National Protests

For more than two full weeks now, protests over police brutality and racial injustice in the United States have continued in hundreds of cities all across the nation. In most instances, these protests have been peaceful and nonviolent, with people from all races and walks of life coming together to support a common cause. However, unfortunately, some cities did see violence, rioting, looting, and the burning down of businesses and buildings. These protests began on Tuesday, May 26, the day immediately following the killing of an unarmed African American man in Minneapolis, Minnesota following an arrest made on account of an allegedly counterfeit twenty-dollar bill.

 

Background

When a white police officer began to forcefully kneel on the neck of George Floyd on the ground of a public street on the evening of Monday, May 25, many bystanders and citizens surrounding the area rushed over to the scene. Some people began video recording the incident. Officer Derek Chauvin’s knee was pressed down mercilessly on Floyd’s neck, with minute after minute passing by. Right from when the officers arrived, Floyd complied with all of their instructions and did not resist arrest. The bystanders watching the scene take place pleaded with a second onlooking officer and Chauvin to immediately take his knee off of Floyd’s neck, as Floyd began to severely struggle to breathe. 

But, Chauvin refused. He continued to keep his knee pinned down on George Floyd’s neck, who repeatedly announced “I can’t breathe, I cannot breathe.” Once an ambulance arrived on the scene, Floyd was placed onto a stretcher and rushed to a hospital, where he soon after was pronounced dead.

In the coming days, it was discovered that Floyd was already unconscious for a few minutes before the ambulance even arrived. The day following the incident, once reports were investigated and video footage surfaced all over the internet, Derek Chauvin and the three other officers on the scene during the arrest were all fired. The videos were posted online on almost every major social media network and viewed tens of millions of times by people all around the world. Many viewers found the video footage to be graphic, upsetting, and very disturbing to watch.

Feelings of outrage, anguish, sadness, and anger all arose quickly for many people after learning of the situation that had occurred leading to the tragic death of George Floyd. Protests demanding “Justice for George” first began in Minneapolis in and around the city, then soon spread to other major metropolises outside of Minnesota. These included cities such as Atlanta, Miami, Denver, and Phoenix. Then, soon after, protests spread to even bigger cities like New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and even near the White House in D.C.

Thousands of people in all of these places, among many other locations, flocked to the streets to make their voices heard. Demonstrators carried large cardboard or paper signs with messages of hope in support of ending police brutality and to protest the horrific murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer. However, it was not only George Floyd who had lost his life as a result of police violence toward Black citizens. Many protesters also recognized two other African Americans who were murdered in 2020, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, whose stories both gained national media attention and outrage.

 

Politically

The ongoing protests around the nation have had a significant impact in the political world. Many leaders within government- federal, state, and local- have spoken out and expressed their words of condolences for George Floyd’s family. Former President Barack Obama shared his statements on the tragic incident via a Twitter post which amassed nearly 2 million likes and half a million retweets. One of his sentences read “This shouldn’t be “normal” in 2020 America. It can’t be normal.” Many state governors, mayors, and senators also spoke out regarding the incident. 

However, the most prominent politician of the entire nation faced much backlash for how long it took him to react to and address the murder of George Floyd. This was President Donald Trump, who took almost 48 hours to publicly mention anything about what had occurred. Once The President did finally address the incident, he was accused by many of inciting more racial division and violence with his compulsive, inflammatory, and insensitive tweets. Trump added more fuel to the already-burning fire regarding the rioting in many cities. Curfews were implemented in many cities starting in the evening in an attempt to keep the rioting and looting as minimal as possible, and hundreds of police officers roamed the streets trying to keep law and order in place.

Socially

Socially, the killing of George Floyd can be regarded as “the last straw” which triggered many people from all different backgrounds to take a stand against police brutality. Protesters of all races – White, Black, Asian, and others- showed their support and solidarity for the losses of several Black lives lost in recent months due to police violence against the African-American community. As for a positive aspect of the protests, it brought together many individuals from all different cultural backgrounds who were all fighting for a common good: Social justice and racial equality in America. Social media, most notably Twitter, was being flooded with posts regarding people’s support of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Millions of posts were uploaded to social media platforms, as internet users expressed their anger, grief, thoughts, and opinions about the recent incidents.

Economically

Relating to the economy, the protests and riots did affect it in one major way: the looting. Many stores and shops were burned down, broken into, robbed, and destroyed. It ranged from big mega-companies such as Target and AutoZone which were both destroyed in Minneapolis, to individually-owned small businesses. Of course, the stores which were broken into are going to suffer economically from major loss of profit. Even more unfortunately though, for the small businesses owners, some may even lose their job completely if their building has been destroyed permanently. As for another economic aspect of the recent events, lots of money is being donated to different anti-racism and social justice organizations around the country. Many people in some places have also attempted to go out of their way to shop at, buy from, or support African-American owned businesses in order to show solidarity for the Black community.