Dear Next President,
My name is Nijah Morris and I live in Philadelphia. I’ve been a student at Olney Charter High School for the past three years, and in that time the discussion of police brutality have appeared many of times. The topic appears often when there is a new victim. This topic is important because people of the same race is being brutally murdered and is receiving no justice what so ever. The results is family members being killed with an extremely high statistic of the death count so far and lastly the reality of it all to the families, communities and the nation.
Let me tell you about the second week of July in 2016. That week was not only important to Black Lives Matter protestors but to me as well. On the 5th of July, Alton Sterling, a 37 year old black man was shot to death by two officers while pinned to the ground. On the 6th of July, Philando Castle, a 36 year old black man, was also to death by an officer as he was inside of his car. On the 7th of July, I turned 16. These three dates, all in a row, are unforgettable to me. The deaths of these two men happened so rapidly, bringing attention to the everyone in the Unites States. Seeing this news on the morning of my birthday scarred me. Knowing how easily these innocent African Americans were murdered just reminded of how easily it is for anyone to be a victim of police brutality. I thought about my father Rasheed Sr., who is a hard-working 41 year old African American father, just like Alton Sterling. I thought about my brother, Rasheed Jr., who is an 18 year old African American college student, just like Michael Brown. I thought about my mom, Nicole, who is a tenacious 37 year old African American women, just like Sandra Bland. And with a blink of an eye, any other African American living in the United States can become another Black Lives Matter hashtag. Any other African American can be added to the countless list of victims of police brutality because of their skin color.
Alton Sterling is not the only one experiencing police brutality in America ; in fact, Alton Sterling is one of 790 people who colored, unarmed, mentally ill and killed by police officers so far in the year of 2016. According to alternet.org, “Young black men were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police officers in 2015.” Even though African Americans only make up 12.3% of the U.S population and males only make up 2%, alternet.org explains that the ages of 15 and 34 comprised more than 15% of all deaths logged this year by an ongoing investigation into the use of deadly force by police and the role of police involved deaths was five times higher than for white males of the same age. Not only does the statistics shows how much African Americans are being killed by police officers but an obvious difference from them and Caucasian Americans.
Imagine if you were going about your everyday life. That can be anything from going to school everyday or reading a book ; it all depends on you. What if, your daily activities was interrupted by a phone call. That phone call was to inform you that a family member passed away. This death, no matter who it was, was shocking, unexpected and heartbreaking. The most shocking part was the cause of their death. Their death was caused after they didn’t receive the proper immediate medical attention they needed after they was shot by an officer. Or maybe their death was caused by them getting beaten to death after ‘resisting arrest’ by an officer. Or maybe their death was just caused by their appearance frightening police officers causing them to ‘self-defend’ themselves. All of these possibilities are connected by two ways, skin color, an irrevocable factor about yourself and police officers, the government officials who are supposed to be protecting us.
To conclude, those imaginary scenarios that were provided was reality to the families of people who been victimized by police brutality. Again, police brutality is important to me because innocent people who are the same race as me is getting killed by officials who the government sent out to protect us and are getting no justice. Everyone should care about this issue because it is unfair and dehumanizing to see people get targeted because of their skin color. A solution to address this would be longer training time to become a police officer since it only takes two years of college to become one, and they don't know how to properly ‘defend’ themselves without a gun to prevent killing a citizen. In addition, teach officers to let victims have their 2nd amendment right and not be targeted for something that shouldn't cost them their lives. Maybe in the future, children wouldn't have to worry about their differences between their skin color but their differences of their favorite color.