This is the first in a series of posts about the current crisis of race in North America.
Well, I guess I was waiting for a good time to get back to the blog. I just didn’t have much to say in the last few weeks. My daily practice was to calmly walk the woods and identify birds of all kinds. I felt a sense of calm, peaceful connection with the land my feet were on, I reflected on how creation reveals the Creator and the many metaphors the forest has for us if we will only allow the time to speak.
A little while ago, my interest was piqued by a story of a fellow birder called Christian Cooper in Central Park who was essentially threatened by a woman for being black. Her threat was that she was going to call the police and tell them an “African American man was threatening her life.” He wasn’t. There’s video. I shook my head and felt sorry for the dog the white lady was choking while she made it her business to get in Mr. Cooper’s face.
This sparked the conversation of how black people in America are profiled, targeted, feared, and disposable to many in the white community and the real risk that exists every time the police are called to intervene or interact with black people, particularly black men.
Other young unarmed black men killed by police in recent history were invoked as a reminder of tense realities between police and the black community. Michael Brown who brought about the “Hands up. Don’t shoot” chant in the aftermath of his death at the hands of police and Eric Garner whose murder from a police chokehold amidst cries of “I can’t breathe”, were two ghosts who haunted the video and preceding internet comment battles that ensued.
The event in Central Park occurred on the morning of May 25th.
Who would believe that on the evening of May 25th, at 8pm, police were called to respond to an allegation of forgery over a counterfeit $20 bill in Minneapolis, Minnesota which ended in the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of the police? His name was George Floyd. Who would believe this? Black people. Black people would believe it. And it’s a damn shame. And I mean shame in the truest sense of shameful behaviour, shameful conduct, shameful police work, shameful habits, and shameful prejudice.
And the people are sick of it. America (and Canada) is covered in crowds of people who refuse to let these shameful practices rooted in history and passing the buck to stand any longer. Protests cover the country and have spread to other nations around the world with the most striking display being a mural of George Floyd painted on rubble in Syria. The world is now looking at America to fix its deepest wound of white supremacy that built the nation these folks are fighting to change.