By: Hayden C. Cordova | Managing Editor
Within the span of seven days, America’s tense COVID-19 crisis quickly transitioned into an increasingly vocal and widespread rallying for justice against police brutality. Countries across the world have raised their voices and brought George Floyd’s name to the forefront of the public consciousness through a variety of methods.
Social media movements such as “#BlackoutTuesday” continued debates across platforms, official statements from multiple businesses and organizations, including the University of South Alabama, announced their universal alignment with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Peaceful protests held across the country seemed to occur simultaneously due to how fast information about these societal events has spread.
However, many people wonder whether or not the outpouring of support will actually enact the change demanded to be seen by governmental authority. Measures taken to maintain the pandemic have made the social climate ripe for collective outcry, but the question remains as to why only now racial injustice is being discussed so fervently when countless others in years past faced the same brutality as George Floyd yet their stories and the collective action that stems from them fades from the media spotlight only a short time later.
From my own experience, I only first became aware of Floyd’s death on social media. After I realized that he had suffered in physical agony for nearly 9 minutes, I sympathized with the pain he and his family must have felt at his regrettable and preventable passing, and yet I moved on with my day afterward. I was disconnected from what his death represented only until it became an absolutely unavoidable presence in the media. There is a clear need to ensure that George Floyd’s name does not gradually become another statistic if America truly wants the broader societal issues surrounding his death to change for the better.
The fact remains that while clear and uncompromising acts of solidarity from organizations and people can and has brought attention to the tragedy of racial injustice at the hands of police brutality, more than attention is needed: memory is needed. While the nation heals from this wound, it is important to keep the wound from ever reopening. The Civil Rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. took over 20 years to enact the change desired. Those who speak out must be willing to continue their support beyond the point of social convenience and the so-called “topic of the week.” This is not a race to be won, but a long regimen to adhere to until change is seen.