Now is not the time for silence.
We at Medium want to acknowledge the pain and trauma that people across the United States are feeling right now due to acts of racist violence that have unfolded recently in Georgia, in Minneapolis, in Louisville, in New York City, and beyond. What follows are the major events that precipitated the current outrage and unrest.
Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was jogging this February in a Georgia neighborhood where he was hunted down and killed by a father and son, who are White. The two men claimed they thought Arbery was a burglary suspect, and they were not arrested until the uproar that followed the release of a video of the brutal killing.
In Minneapolis, a White police officer killed a Black man in custody — George Floyd — by kneeling on his neck as he begged for relief, lost consciousness, and died. A bystander captured the murder on video. Protests have ensued in Minneapolis and many other cities for days now. The police response across the United States has been violent, as seen in videos of protesters being billy-clubbed, shoved, driven into, hit with rubber bullets, and pepper-sprayed. Journalists have been arrested on the job.
In Louisville, where protests broke out Thursday night, a Black woman — Breonna Taylor — was shot by police in March as they raided her home during an investigation that reports indicate was a case of wrong-person, wrong-place. The 9–1–1 recording is harrowing.
In New York City, a woman was walking her dog off leash in a leash-only section of Central Park when a bird-watcher in the area asked her to leash her pet. The birder — Christian Cooper — is Black. The woman is White. She reacted by threatening, on video, to call the police and falsely claim that an “African-American man” was threatening her life. Click that link ← to hear from Cooper himself.
We could go on.
These acts are tragic, traumatizing, and infuriating. They provoke emotion and outrage, which we all feel.
The pandemic, which has disproportionately infected and killed people of color, has revealed the inequities that have always been present in the U.S. The systemic racism has been thrown into sharp relief.
Being heard, being seen, is harder than ever. Many of us are quarantined. This takes a unique toll on people who are left out of the picture and the conversation far too often even in the Before Times — namely, people of color.
On Saturday, in between caring for my toddler and catching up on housework and work-work and checking in with my loved ones, I was able to dig into what people are publishing on our platform. I found story after story, dispatch after dispatch, of people taking to Medium to share their thoughts, feelings, predictions, and experiences. This is how I spend most of my Saturdays, but this one felt different. There were even more of you, and an even more diverse set of voices, from across the country.
There is a lot to say, right now, and we invite you to say it here, to read it here, to absorb it here.
Here are some of the powerful stories we’re reading:
This writer takes on the erasure of Arbery’s humanity.
A Minnesota local wants to talk to her kids about racist violence.
The former mayor of a city he loves — that would be Minneapolis — is mourning.
On that note, here’s a helpful list of tactical actions that support racial justice. Along with a reading list. If you see other stories we’ve missed and that you think should get more attention, please post them in the responses.
As we make our way through these times, let’s try to find strength in each other. All forms of civil discourse are welcome here.
We extend love to our colleagues, our readers, and our writers.