by Miss YaYa Vargas
Race War 2020 and I don’t just mean the upcoming presidential election.
Protests have swept the nation, coinciding with widespread unemployment due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a deep recession and an ambiguous administration in the White House. America has been here before, minus mandatory quarantine. Our parents and grandparents are experiencing a deja vu to the south of the 1960s: waves of violent, political protests with military and law enforcement responses, specifically over ongoing issues with racial oppression.1968 was a culmination of several years of aggressive, political upheaval in the United States. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Voting Rights Act of 1965 did very little to address the ongoing concerns of Black Americans outside of the south.


This wasn’t new news. People of color have been mistreated since the beginning of this countries inception. Since Columbus. Since the transatlantic slave trade. Only now, it is being televised for all the world to see. One would think the LA riots of 1992, would garner some form of change. The unrest began in South Central Los Angeles on April 29, after a trial jury acquitted four white officers of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), for usage of excessive force in the arrest and beating of Rodney King. The assault and trial had been videotaped and widely viewed in TV broadcasts. The courtroom was centrally located in a white police community, with white jurors.

L.A. RIOTS OF 1992

L.A. RIOTS OF 1992

Since 2012, with the death of Trevon Martin, over 24 African Americans have been murdered at the hands of white men, mostly in law enforcement. The bulk of these deaths have gained national attention, making it difficult for anyone watching to turn a blind eye. Yet and still, most do. On May 25th, 2020, George Floyd. A nonviolent unarmed Black man accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill in a convenience store, had the knee of a white police officer on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, while three other white officers stood by and watched. Floyd called out for his mother as he repeated, “I can’t breathe”. The nations breaking point. The world knows this happened because it is being televised, plastered on every social media outlet imaginable. Now, the world is watching. For the first time in history all 50 states and countries all over the world are joining America in the fight against racism. Organizing protests in solidarity, not just for George Floyd, but for the social injustices people of color, namely the Black community, has endured for centuries.
Civilians are exposing the narrative that this country has tried so hard to keep hidden. Systemic racism. A form of racism expressed in the practice of social and political institutions. It is reflected in disparities regarding wealth, income, criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power and education, among other factors. It took over a year after being beaten by four white police officers for a verdict to be reached for Rodney King’s assailants. Not guilty. Acquitted on all accounts, except one minor assault. Too many bodies have piled up since. Over a week has passed following George Floyds death. The four officers responsible have been arrested,10 days later. The media focus has been more on the looters and protestors rather than the catalyst or the call for change.

Wide-spread looting occurs in stores off Broadway as police attempt to clear a sit-in protest for the killing of George Floyd on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica on Sunday, May 31, 2020. (Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

We are in the middle of another race war. It is time to incite positive change not only for the Black community, but for social justice everywhere for everyone. It starts with us. Check yourself. Self-awareness is key to holding ourselves accountable for how to put an end to race wars, once and for all. Posting and researching information on social media can be a starting point, but the real work starts within our own homes and chat groups. These conversations must be had, with political leaders, with our children, with our elders, with each other.
Vote!! Our votes as citizens of the United States count! We need to vote in droves, not just for the presidential election, but also for the Spring/ Summer primaries in our districts. Rally up your friends for a Vote Brunch. Stand in line as a unit, cast your ballots, then head over to a local business to grab a bite together. Social distancing? Meet up for a Zoom chat where you and your circle discuss what’s next in being part of the change, then mail in your voter ballots. Not sure if you are registered to vote, where to go, or voting dates in your state? Visit Vote.Org to register, and get all of your voter information. Educate yourself  Visit the NAACP’s website information on the cause, ways you can help, developments in how #WeAreDoneDying is getting Congress to take every measure in ensuring it protects Black lives, how to organize or join a peaceful protest in your local area, and more. Sign petitions. Color of Change has a petition urging the officers who killed George Floyd to be charged with murder. The call for legislation to demand law enforcement polices their own starts here.
The Black Lives Matter movement also provides resources, including the petition #DefundThePolice demanding those monies be invested in communities to provide assets ensuring people of color not only survive, but thrive. Know someone who is on the frontlines of protests? Have telephone numbers handy for bail bonds help, by visiting  Community Justice Exchange  For additional tools, visit National Resources List, a master doc including information on nationwide charities to donate to, free legal help per state for arrested protestors, mutual aid funds, tips for attending protests, and more.

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