Recently, there have been several cases of racial injustice occurring around the country that have only been exposed in the limelight solely due to video footage. Many people do not understand the depth of racial injustice within our criminal justice system so the first step to changing this is to be able to identify these occurrences in order to diminish this normalcy of racial injustice in modern-day America. There needs to be a greater push against racial injustice because our future generation deserves a better and brighter tomorrow.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
Racial injustice is difficult to grasp for many individuals since this is not a topic we are taught much about in school. We learn about how racism was a tainted part of this nation’s history but fail to comprehend the full extent of how deep race goes in our country. In order to grasp how race is pipelined in our criminal justice system, you must go back to how the laws of the Constitution are written. There are many laws in our Constitution that offer freedom, protection, and equality to all individuals that did not commit crimes. The clause that can be loopholed by the system is that statement that criminals do not deserve constitutional rights. Slaves did not receive constitutional rights and were considered 1/3 of a person during times of slavery.
After slavery, the power control was never shifted out of the white man’s hand till much later so there was the large unproportioned distribution of power. White folk took advantage of their authority by criminalizing many brown and black Americans and taking away their rights or putting them in prison. This use of power has gotten fairer over the decades, but it is still not where it needs to be. The only reason there has been a shift in authoritative power because African-Americans did not settle with simply being freed from their shackles but pursued their undeniable rights. Our prison systems are unproportioned by people of color compared to white people due to the unfair treatment the system offers them. We can make this conclusion due to there being no significant difference in crime rates across different races.
There have been many wrongful murders going on around the country that are being committed by police officers. What is worse is the fact that these police officers have a 1% chance of being convicted of any crime at all. They are untouchable in the eyes of the law and they are supposed to protect and serve their citizens. Powerful movements have birthed during the past couple of years due to these racial injustices such as the Black Lives Matter Movement or the #Equality movement. These movements have been advocating for the victims of injustices who have been silenced by a gun, a knee, or a wrongful conviction. In the image displayed above, there are many individuals shouting their protests against these injustices going on. Many people of different races are stepping up and speaking out against things that are wrong in our justice system. These injustices are far from okay.
Get Involved in Ending Racial Injustice
I took this video in Oakland, CA at the George Floyd protests. As you can see, there are many different sized and colored people involved in this march against the abuse of power present in our figures of authority. Many of these kinds of protests are happening in major cities, schools, highways, and even bridges. We must not be silent! We cannot wait until we are personally affected by police brutality, instead, we must prevent it before it even occurs. Look into your local community and see what ways you can get involved in being another voice for the voiceless.
Understand Your Activism
Activism is not something many people would consider their hobby, however, many overcomplicate what could be considered activism. Personally, I have never been to any protest prior to the George Floyd one above so my activism experience is not a lot. However, that experience alone showed me how important it is to have protesters and marches because how else is the government going to hear you. In order to make a change, you not only have to change the local environment you are in but also change the opinions of those who possess the power to influence mass change. Protests and marches are the idealistic forms of speech for citizens to indicate to the country what needs to change. There were little outbreaks of chaos and violence every now and then, however, the key is to remain peaceful so our intentions can be heard.
Speak Out and Stand Up
There are many programs and organizations that go above and beyond speaking out against racial injustice and fighting for those wrongfully convicted that are behind bars. Two organizations that are well-known for overturning wrongful convictions are the Innocence Project and the Equal Justice Initiative. Both of these organizations mostly only take on life sentence or death penalty cases to look into and these are the worst sanctions possible in our criminal justice system. Imagine if the system wrongfully convicts death penalty cases, how many civil or other criminal cases they mishandle as well. This thought alone enforces how the system needs to be checked and amended to be better so injustices are rare rather than justice being the rarity. Your voice matters, especially because someone else out there is voiceless (dead or imprisoned). It is just like how they teach you to handle bullies in school. Speak up and stand up for yourself. No one deserves to die, it does not matter if they are innocent or guilty. Every life matters. Black Lives Matter.