Redeat A. California

I can't breathe.

"So, what will you do to make sure that they don’t end up being another hashtag?"

Dear President,

Black lives matter. It seems like such a simple statement, but it can go a long way. The hashtags swirl the internet almost everyday. People think this movement began to suppress whites and other races, but it isn’t like that at all. Black Lives Matter because of one simple reason, equality among the races. Blacks in America are mistreated, discriminated against, and tormented simply because of the color of their skin. Unfortunately, racism is still well and alive today almost as much as it was back then. We’ve been struck down, whipped, and beaten with people with empty, cold hearts. The problem is, we were treated unjustly then, and we are still treated like this now.

Black lives matter. My father and I walked into a liquor store. As we were slowly making our way down the aisles, the owner of the store-a tall, white, relatively old man, began to follow us. My father didn’t notice the tall figure following us up until the man was describing my father on the phone with police officials. Eventually, the police came. My father asked what the problem was and the police told him that the owner accused him of stealing. They emptied out his pockets, searched my jacket, and didn’t find anything. When the police official asked the owner of the store why he had made the call, he simply replied, “Because niggers steal.”

Black lives matter. Slavery in America began when the first African slaves were brought to the North American colony of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619, to aid in the production of such lucrative crops as tobacco. Since then, African Americans were always treated unfairly. It all started with a black person and a white person. About 50 years ago on a soul train trip to Africa, Europeans began to enslave the African race. Since then, racism has always been around. Recently, outbreaks involving racism have made an outbreak. Nationwide, hashtags swirl the internet almost every week. The hashtag #BLACKLIVESMATTER appears almost 40 times as I refresh the twitter app. Blacks, hispanics, even whites spreading around the idea that black lives matter and that all lives will matter once black lives do.

Black lives matter. As soon as I saw the video of an African American man by the name of Eric Garner being choked to death, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. At first I thought it was a joke, my mind didn't want to come to the conclusion that people could be that gruesome and careless. How people would do such a thing to someone so innocent. The amount of sympathy I had for the man was unconditional, and my eyes couldn't bear the the tears that were held back. It was as if I lost all hope for society, for policemen that would dare to kill a man for being who he is. The fear that creeped into my mind swept in after finishing the video. The fear that maybe I wasn't safe to be African American.

“Please, don't touch me. Do not touch me. I can't breathe, I can't breathe” His last words taunt me and can't seem exit my mind. Police surrounding him, practically barricading him, and soon after, strangling him to his very death. Was it really because he tried to break up a fight? Or was it because he tried to break up a fight and he was African American. What seemed to be an innocent man was treated as if he committed a felony. Hot tears stream down my face, fighting every urge not to throw my phone across the room. Fighting every desire to have a bit of sympathy for the police officer. My brain does everything it takes not to burst out in fury, not only at the situation, but what this means to me.

Black lives matter. Racism never died. It never disappeared, in fact it is so alive in our society today. Whether it be at school, online, or on the news. Racism is still here. News story after news story, hashtag after hashtag, murder after murder, mistreatment after mistreatment, and stereotype after stereotype. Sometimes I stop to think how that makes me feel. I feel uncomfortable and in most cases unsafe. It makes me feel different and abnormal in a normal American society. Being young, it makes me feel as though being African American is a threat to people who still act upon racism immorally and unjustly.

Black lives matter Mr. or Mrs. president, and as the massive protests persist with the developing news story, and as the fear of young ones grow intensely, I remember the innocence of many African American individuals whose lives were stripped away from them by racist people. Eric was just one of many to have his life on the line because of the color of his skin. Just another African American man who made a news headline and trend worldwide on social media. So, what will you do to make sure that they don’t end up being another hashtag?

Best regards,