“Be the change you want to see in the world.”


The photo of George Floyd dying under the knee of a Police Officer in Minnesota has haunted North America and it is horrific indeed. It is an all too familiar image of another black person dying at the hands of the police screaming "I can't breathe"... I look at the pictures of Minneapolis before anyone ever threw a rock or started a fire or stole anything — I watched the police firing rubber bullets and cans of tear gas into crowds of people who WERE peacefully protesting. This time we cannot stay silent because enough is enough. The murder of George Floyd on its own is so heinous an act it simply cannot be allowed to stand unpunished. Combine that now with so many other deaths of innocent people at the hands of Police and it is like a punch in the gut that in this day and age, we allow this to go on. I have heard people say that this man, this police officer, who put his knee on the neck of George Floyd does not deserve to be free. We have also heard over and over again during the last week that it is not enough for us to be 'not racist'. You and I need to take the extra step and we have to be 'anti racist' and for those of you reading this who do not think white privilege exists - well then you are blind. Go take other look. We must hold our authorities accountable, our police officers accountable, our politicians accountable, and policy makers all responsible. Protests have erupted across the country in a mass mobilization unlike anything we have ever seen before. During this period it is safe to say that lot of police have done nothing but make a heartbreaking situation even worse. You have likely seen the videos on social media showing cops punching protesters, arresting people for no reason, tear gassing bystanders, distributing loads of 'bait bricks', the photos of people hit by rubber bullets and hurt in scuffles and so on... Looting has broken out all over North America and it has gotten bad in certain cities. Watching from the comfort and safety of home in our living rooms, I can hear people asking why the protestors can't just follow the laws? Imagine if you lived in a country where the color of your skin got you killed for driving, jogging, sleeping, yelling, parking, baby sitting, sitting in a van, selling CD's, buying cigarettes, opening the door, walking at night, wearing a hoodie at night, holding a toy gun, lying on the ground, being homeless, being in a dark stairwell, holding a cell phone, having a broken taillight, exercising horses, having a bottle of pills, shopping at Walmart, holding a beanie in a Walmart, holding up a phone, being in your own backyard, eating ice cream, being in your own house... I could keep going... You would say that is a lawless country. So why are we shocked that people are asking for revolutionary change? We support revolutions around the world and celebrate throwing stones at tanks and we can certainly empathize with the protesters. What we can't seem to fathom is that the same knee of oppression that kills in Gaza could be the same knee of oppression that killed George Floyd. I can't speak to what it's like to be black but I know how we talk about black people in Canada and I know that we love black people on our screens and in our professional sports a d when it comes to popular music and we relish how high a black person can ascend in North America but honestly we have done nothing to raise the floor to help and that is what these protests are about. The worst part is many are in this country and in America because of protest and because of the civil rights movement. The only reason so many of us are here in North America is because of the US immigration act of 1965. That law rode the wave of the civil rights act of 1964. You may not think it is your fight - right? The racism issue in North America story didn't start when you got here, but here is the thing, when you became a citizen you don't just get to own the country's excellence - you have to own its failures too. That is the deal. It is hard to not feel that this kind of behavior should be long behind us - it is not. We may not have been the ones who killed George Floyd but we absolutely have to become the ones who pull that cop off his neck. We think we're not a part of the story but were at the scene of the crime that's why the full picture matters and this sort of crime doesn't happen in a vacuum. We have to help win this thing. We have to donate money or time to black organizations, Doctors should offer free health care to the protesters, Tech people should help black businesses get online. If you work in IT then set up a router. You passed the bar? Good, more proud pro Bono for protesters, Corporate Law doesn't need any more billable hours. Everything helps. Every effort counts. Like the man who let protesters hide from police in his home - you don't even need a degree to do this - you just need a Sharpie. We need to get rid of qualified immunity because it protects police from lawsuits and holds them to a difference in standards than the rest of us. There's a bill in the American Congress right now. If you live in the US make sure it gets traction it deserves. Harass your member of Congress. We need to De-militarize the police. Over last 2 months Doctors have been walking around in garbage bags and now the Police look like they are cosplay’ing as Master Chief in Halo. This is overkill. De-militarize the Police! Please! Finally, we need to vote out corrupt local officials because this buddy-buddy bullshit between prosecutors, the judicial system and the Police is the reason that police officers hardly ever serve time. I would like to tell Keith Ellison, the Attorney General in Minnesota that you Keith, have this case now... Come on man.. You need to charge and prosecute all 4 officers is hard as you possibly can... They have got to go to prison. We can't let this moment slip away. Millions of people around the world have taken to the street to afford us this moment set the precedent. So that the next time a cop has his knee on a black man's neck he will see it for what it is... murder. Cyril J Williams Publisher/Editor - High! Canada Magazine email - editor@highcanada.net www.highcanada.net