The Time is Now
Welcome to Workforce Career Readiness™ Teen Writing Series. This series offers teens the opportunity to publish their creative work and opinions on issues that affect their lives (relationships, family, school, current events, exercise, healthy eating and living, mental wellness, and self-esteem). Workforce Career Readiness™ is devoted to helping teens share their voices.
I can’t breathe. These haunting words were the last of a black man named George Floyd. “I can’t breathe” he cried while an officer had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck.
On May 25, 2020, a store worker in Minneapolis called the police because he suspected that Floyd had paid for a pack of cigarettes with a fake $20 bill. The store owner later said, “Most of the times when patrons give us a counterfeit bill, they don’t even know it’s fake.” Instead of an investigation being sprung, something much darker took place.
An officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for a whopping 8 minutes and 48 seconds, blocking Floyd’s ability to breathe. Several eyewitnesses pleaded with the officer, urging for him to take his knee off, but the officer did not listen. He kept his knee on Floyd’s neck and appeared unfazed despite knowing he was slowly killing him.
Even worse, three other officers on the scene watched the murder for 8 minutes and 48 seconds without doing anything to avoid the tragedy. The officers were only arrested and charged after protests erupted all over the country. Most of the protests have been peaceful. As a young teenager, when I watch and hear about the racial inequality, one big question comes to my mind: Why is it happening and how can we prevent it in the future?
As MLK had said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” The youth of today needs to take a stand and speak up. We need to speak up when we notice inequality be it on the playground or in the classroom. We need to create awareness of racial diversity and equality.
“There is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night….This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors.” Robert F. Kennedy said in 1968 shortly before his assassination.
I feel like right now, history is being made. The time is now. Let’s not lose our momentum.
I call upon the young boys and girls to step up and speak when they notice inequality.
I call upon you to come together and fight for change.
I call upon you to be engaged civically and be the change agents in your community.
I call upon you to make a difference.
Krishnav is the co-founder of 901PLEDGE. He won the "Keeper of the Dream" award by National Civil RIghts Museum for the work he have been doing with the refugee resettlement in Memphis and with Mid South Food Bank.
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