An open letter to keep sounding off.
Waking up Friday morning, my mind was consumed by the injustices of our world and the heartbreak of a nation. I was feeling angry since Monday, but I had finally slipped into a state of grievance —— until I saw the authorities trying to bury George Floyd’s story.
Our country saw the cold-blooded murder of Floyd rooted in systemic racism. And when the press speaks out about these injustices and the facts of the story, they are silenced.
I was angry all over again. To be exact, I was furious. My chest was tight, my teeth were clenched and my mind jumped from one unbelief to the next.
I waited until I had calmed down and could think clearly. As soon as I did, I allowed the power of the pen to take over.
CNN’s Omar Jimenez was updating the nation on the current happenings of Minneapolis on Friday. He was showcasing the passion and power one life could elicit. Live on the air, he and his crew were taken into custody.
In the arrest video, which can be seen here, Jimenez identifies himself and respectfully complies with the officers.
“Wherever you want us, we will go,” said Jimenez. “We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection.”
But Jimenez is met with handcuffs and no explanation instead of a point of action.
Since when was it okay to silence the press in our “free” country?
It begs me to ask the question: Are authorities afraid of what the first draft of history could evoke? Are authorities threatened by the truth that sparks advocacy and revolution? Yes.
Like George Orwell said, “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”
The freedom of the press isn’t just about the independence to publish but it is also about the message. In this case, it’s that black lives matter.
Jimenez and other journalists covering the story of Floyd and the surrounding events are telling the narrative of a hurt and oppressed people rising up. They are showing the world that society has seen enough, and people won’t sit back quietly.
These kinds of stories shine a light on the downfalls of our country and serve as a platform to evoke change —— and they make those in power feel uneasy and inferior. So, they attack our first amendment rights.
As a journalist, that’s horrifying. There is a reason why the press is not under governmental control and instead stands for the people. As a civilian, it’s equally as terrifying. First, authorities control the press. Next, it’s all speech.
I was scrolling through social media when I saw a friend’s PSA to use our own words when speaking out about Floyd, as it has a greater impact than simply reposting. Those in power know that, and that’s why they want to suppress our expression.
To make matters worse, Jimenez is a black Latino and was the first of his crew to be arrested. This tells me his custody is another facet of the systemic racism in our country.
What kind of nation are we living in where it takes five days to arrest a man who jabbed his knee into another man’s neck resulting in death but only a few minutes to arrest a journalist doing his job?
This is the America we are living in. If it doesn’t scare you, you need to wake up.
I wrote this so we may be reminded of the influence our voices possess. They are driving forces that summon transformation —— don’t forget that.
I wrote this so we may be reminded of the injustices in our country; I never want us to become numb to these devastating realities.
I wrote this so these issues are put in the spotlight. When we can’t look away and realize the magnitude of these problems, we have no choice but to speak up.
Therefore, use your voice. Tell those around you who Floyd was. Share what needs to alter. Vocalize the transfiguration our world needs to witness. Let people know where you stand. Don’t let George Floyd die in vain. Tell his story.
May you have the courage and endurance to sound off and allow your voice to always echo justice. Don’t be silenced.