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Over the weekend, Chicago partook in a nationwide protest after the inhumane treatment that ended a man’s life a few days before. The heartbreaking George Floyd protest began with a strong cause–one which will be remembered forever as it will live through future protests as a reminder that police brutality is an issue and equality is still a struggle in our democracy. 

The colorful pin-drops of the city’s lights glistened, as the streets were tainted, Saturday night, May 30, 2020. Thousands of people flooded the streets with a notion to force their voices to be heard. Their cause was simple: Justice for George Floyd. 

There is disbelief that a person of color isn’t at the hands of such cruel acts of brutality just because of the skin color of George Floyd. Unfortunately, based on the series of deaths that have occurred throughout the United States, racism seems to be the culprit for such heinous acts. What’s worse is that lives are in danger by officers of the city they have sworn to serve and protect.

There’s a community of supporters in every city, in every town, in every state. Each one is diverse and broad, using voices as weapons and kindness as bandages because every life matters–black lives matter. Protests have surpassed the cause as others are veering into looting and trouble. Both which are understatements are understandable. 

Passion has fueled the adrenaline in hundreds of thousands of people in America. They have allowed themselves to tap into their animalistic side, where rage and anger surge like lightning in the night. Protests have been disrupted by many angry Chicagoans. Barging through peaceful protesters, they have begun to take matters into their hands rather than by using their voices. As destructive as it might seem, there’s a metaphor behind the chaos.

Photo taken by Lauren Arbuckle

Racism is shattering the lives of so many people. Families are being broken, and peace is being taken away. Sleepless nights and constant fear of what will happen to their daughter or son when they leave the house in the morning for school, or why someone’s husband is late coming home from work. It’s not the idea of an accident on the road or personal affairs that might be keeping them. 

If only it were the young boy that was keeping the daughter from returning home when she was supposed to, just so they could laugh a little bit longer, or kiss a little bit more. If only it were the construction on the highway that was backing up traffic, causing dad to be late coming home or arriving at his kid’s game.

If only.

Instead, it’s a haunting memory of triggers that are pulled in the city and cold batons flying through the air to seize and control; and deaths that have circulated, painting the city with the innocent blood that was never justified. 

Breaking the business’s windows and setting fire to police cars is a metaphor for what is being tolerated in our society—civic issues where justice does not exist, and racism is masked behind a uniform. Violence is never the answer, but it is a wake-up call. It shakes everything up, pushing people to either fight or run. It creates change because it forces recognition and indecision to be addressed.

There is no excuse for those who have been beaten or shot during this weekend’s protests. The people are out for blood, desperately craving to be heard. Filling the streets with the same kind of chaos that these — what look to be small violent crimes that don’t matter — unlawful deaths are creating in the homes of many lives.

Yes, racism will probably never go away. It’s a virus that will never be cured. That much is inevitable. And police brutality may or may not cease to exist. But as a community, the pain and the afflictions of such violence and hate can be addressed. 

Civic bullying needs to come to an end. As a nation, we’re standing up for those who can’t. We’re standing up to those who support such vile actions and words against those of color. We’re standing up, and we’re lighting everything up in flames as we go.

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