Alton Sterling. Philando Castile.
I won't reiterate the horrific tragedy of what happened to these two men, because it honestly makes me sick just thinking about it and I can't get those videos out of my head.
In no uncertain terms, those men were murdered. And it's heartbreaking. It's disgusting. It's wrong. It's terrifying. It's beyond comprehension.
And it's not going to stop until people wake up to the very real problem of racism that is still rampant in this country. To my friends who are POC, I am so, so sorry. I am sorry for the fear you must feel on a daily basis. I'm sorry for the lack of safety and acceptance you are given just because of the color of your skin. I am sorry for the people who hate you. I am sorry this society is so undeveloped we haven't moved past racism. I am so sorry.
No, I do not hate cops. There are many times in my past that cops have rescued me and loved ones from dangerous and volatile situations. I respect good, hardworking cops for what they do and what they risk. And just like not all men are rapists or misogynists, no, not all cops are bad cops or racists, but you know what? THERE ARE WAY TOO FREAKING MANY THAT ARE. Two innocent black men were gunned down for no reason by white men with badges, men who were supposed to serve and protect them. And cops like this make it really freaking difficult to recognize the cops that aren't like them.
I got backhandedly accused by a woman that I know, whose husband happens to be a cop, of not caring about cop killings because I'm outraged by what these particular cops did. NO NO NO NO NO. Calling cops who execute innocent black people murderers does not mean I endorse the murders of cops. I am just as sad about the snipers who killed cops at a protest in Dallas tonight. Murder is murder. Murdering these cops is just as much murder as what happened to Alton and Philando.
I've managed to lose friends in the past 48 hours because of what I have posted on my Facebook and Twitter over all of this. But you know what? I frankly don't care. I refuse to stay silent when my friend has to explain to her 6 year old adopted from Africa why he'll have to take extra caution not to draw suspicion or negative attention; black children are having their innocence ripped away from them. I refuse to stay silent when I see ignorant comments from police apologists who ignore reality to stay safe in their own bubble where their white privilege is a made up war from progressives and Democrats. I refuse to stay silent when my friends talk about feeling like they need to wear full-body bulletproof suits sos as to not be "shot down like wolves." I refuse to stay silent when I have nightmares about some of my best friends, my brothers, being murdered by cops and wake up realizing that those aren't so farfetched dreams. Silence adds to the problem.
But those snipers in Dallas who shot 11 cops, killing 4 of them and leaving 3 others in critical condition, they are not the answer. They are also adding to the problem.
Wake up, people. Racism is alive and well. Black people are disproportionately attacked by police. Not all cops are bad. No one, cop or civilian, deserves to be murdered. And it's up to us to stop it. Each and every one of us.
How many more innocent people have to die before we wake up and do something about this? I'm scared to see what it will take.