The murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, those who swore to protect and serve, is a horrendous tragedy. But this is not new to the Black Community. We must understand that the organization of policing originated by hunting down free Africans who were kidnapped from their Country, then transported and enslaved across America to sustain the system of slavery.
Between 1920 and 1938, the NAACP flew flags outside of its offices that read, “A Man Was Lynched Yesterday” to mark the lynching of Black People in the United States. It is a shame on this nation that a century later, Black people continue to be brutalized and killed as their murderers walk free.
The arrest of the Officer Derek Chauvin is not enough, we have seen these arrests over and over, but the Black Community rarely sees justice. There were three other officers who stood by and participated in the murder of Mr. Floyd. You know that if you are with a friend and they commit a crime, your friend gets arrested, and you also will be arrested for participating in that crime. We want all of the officers charged in the murder of Mr. Floyd.
These are not isolated incidents. They are directly related to the systematic racism that plagues our country at a more alarming rate than the cononavirus. Whether it is the racist actions that fail to allow qualified Blacks from being hired at NYS State Agencies or Authorities, or the murder of unarmed Black people at the hands of the police, our communities have been in a state of emergency since long before COVID-19 brought it to light.
Enough is enough. We Are Done Dying.
We are calling for federal legislation similar to a Hate Crime Bill to be developed, which would provide detailed procedures and penalties in cases of blatant police brutality. The unrest we are seeing today is what happens when the road of justice is too long, drawn out, and littered with potholes. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied.”
Our Communities are angry and saddened, and many are taking to the streets. According to the Governor of Minnesota, we are finding that there are extremist and domestic terrorists infiltrating peaceful protests to cause damage and destruction in order to attack the legitimacy of the protests and the protesters themselves, and to diminish what has happened to Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Troy Hodge, Jonah Drisdom, Breonna Taylor, Dante Parker, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Alston Sterling, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Michelle Cusseaux, Bettie Jones, Dominique Clayton, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd.
We must be strategic and measured as we battle this latest grave injustice. The NAACP will not rest until we see these officers charged and convicted for the murder of George Floyd. We must keep our focus on redressing the systematic racism against our community that lead to this tragedy. We cannot afford to delay while losing more Black children. We must protest peacefully, demand persistently, and fight politically, but most of all, WE MUST VOTE and elect officials who will stand for Justice.
Shirley J. Hamilton
President, Niagara Falls Branch NAACP
(image from public domain protest photos)