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Ahmaud Arbery

How to Talk To Your Child About Aftermath of George Floyd’s Death

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

As a parent (future, impending, new or veteran), we are challenged to cope with these unsettling times, and to help children who are experiencing and witnessing the mayhem related to the pandemic, and now social unrest.

It’s not just us.

The world is challenged by COVID-19 and more recently, the growing protests following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky and Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia . Now more than ever, we all need to become committed to personal introspection and to gather our thoughts so we can later help our kids make sense of it all.

Parents no longer have the luxury to just ignore it because the world, companies, influencers, brands, schools, political figures and seemingly everyone is saying something…finally!

A lot of parents, especially non-black parents, may struggle how to broach to topic because they themselves do not know how to process it,  know what to say, know how to say it and may experience anxiety, fear and uncertainty on how their message will be received.

I write to share my thoughts in hopes they may serve as a guide.

Ultimately, on the protests, fires and violence, you can try to shelter children but understand that if they are online, or have eyes or ears, they will hear and see what’s going on and may ask questions.

Using simple, age-appropriate wordsm explain that people are upset with a bad incident and are protesting to let the people in charge know they are not happy because this bad incident has happened before and they do not want it to happen again.

Photo by Harrison Haines from Pexels

Race may be a complicated topic but if you feel your child can understand, you can go ahead and let them know that while everyone should be treated equally without regards to what they look like on the outside and what skin they have, that is not always the case. And people are upset and demanding that things change so everyone can feel safe, especially our black friends, neighbors and family.

You can let them know that it is a complicated and complex problem that adults, and in particular those in charge of certain institutions, have to deal with and hopefully, we will make progress.

They should not be burdened that they bear any personal role, though you can tell them that they should always treat everyone with kindness but let them know that the problem is bigger than just one-on-one individual actions of kindness. Bigger systems need to work in order to make the type of changes people are looking for.

If you feel you need to address the fires, violence and looting, you can let them know that there are bad people who are not protestors who have sadly gone to where the protestors are and that they causing more ruckus and mayhem.

It is upsetting to you and the protestors because they think their voice may get drowned out by these other guys.

The government is stepping in to try to weed out the bad apples mixed in with peaceful protestors, but some people think it may be too much force and getting even more upset.

Again, let them know that these are adult matters and we adults are in charge of working all of this out.

You can give them a sense of understanding that what is happening is not anything they can control but that you have hope things will work out eventually and in the end, if not soon, in the future.

For older teens, if you are comfortable discussing, you can let them know that the uprisings in protests around the United States and solidarity marches and demonstrations around the world call our attention to the cause: the systematic and institutional abuse of power and authority that has resulted in repeated instances of police-involved killings of unarmed black men, women and children in America, many times when the victims are innocent of any wrongdoing.

There is a lot of scholarship and articles summarizing the problem you can find online. Here is one that I recommend:

They should know that a lot of people are taking to the streets also because they are tired of being stuck at home because of Stay-home orders and calls for social distancing.

They have decided to join those people who are frustrated with being restrained from critizing authories and once again calling for reform to ensure all citizens are treated with human dignity and respect during police encounters.

It’s a mixed bag of a lot of different people with different agendas and looks like a mess.

Nonetheless, let them know the focus must remain on the cause of the uprising and not the tragedy and property losses that are the effect.

Ideally, all lives should matter when it comes to the exercise of caution by police to limit civilian death outcomes. Sadly, history has shown that is not the case as one racial class of people is persistently killed at an alarming disporptionate rate compared to their population in America and with impunity.

There are several initiatives and ways to get involved, demand action of elected officials, or donate to the cause of those doing the hard work to improve this situation for the betterment of all, and in particular black citizens in this nation.

I hope this helps.

Stay healthy and Safe out there!

13 Songs About Resistance, Protest and Revolution To Listen To Now

“I just want to live. God protect me,” sings gospel artist Keedron Bryant.

The 12-year old Season 4 of  “Little Big Shots” contestant sang the song and posted it on his Instagram page in tribute to the latest unarmed black person to be killed by police, George Lloyd.

I just want to live..:God protect me," sings 12-year old gospel artist and Season 4 "Little Big Shots" contestant…

Posted by Jay Jay Ghatt on Friday, May 29, 2020

Lloyd’s death came after a store clerk called the cops alleging he had used a counterfeit $20 and  protocol usually calls for a suspect to be given a ticket if more bills are not found on them given the fact that it is possible someone who uses one may not actually know the bill used was fake.

Somehow things escalated and he was arrested without resistace yet it ended getting violently and Floyd was killed mercilessly by an officer after being held down by a total of four. It also happened in front of the smartphone cameras of onlookers who plead for one officer, Derek Chauvin, with his knee in Lloyd’s neck to let the man breathe. He did not let up for 9 minutes and eventually killed him.

That officer has been charged with Third Degree murder and Manslaughter after a couple of days of unrest when the Minneapolis DA failed to arrest and charge the Chauvin.

Lloyd’s name and hashtag is added to Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery who was hunted down by a vigilante ex cop and his son and EMT and Nurse Breonna Taylor, a Louisana mom who was riddled with bullets when police while serving a warrant on a person they already had in custody barged into her home in the middle of night while she and her boyfriend slept.

There has been protests, which has spread to other cities across the country, from Georgia to DC to Louisiana, and some which have turned violent with looting and destruction of private property.

I do not condone any of that.

I have seen reports that say that anarchist groups with agendas to sully the peaceful protestors have been stirring the pot.

Nonetheless, I do know that the United States was founded on rebellion against the British.

The Boston Tea Party was a riot as was The Stamp Act Riots of 1765, the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783 and the Stonewall Riots of 1969, each uprisings of oppressed people in America.

In the course of history, many movements in the world have had elements of violence to them: Apartheid in South Africa, the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, the Arab Spring, Eritrean and South Sudan secessesion from Ethiopia and Sudan, respectively, resulted in resolve after the unrest.

Peaceful protest results in wins but so do anarchist ones.

In any event, I am being moved and motivated by songs of Resistance in history. Here are a few of my faves which are very relevant lines:

1

What’s Going On?” By Marvin Gaye

Picket lines and picket signs

Don’t punish me with brutality

Talk to me, so you can see

Oh, what’s going on

What’s going on

Yeah, what’s going on

Ah, what’s going on

2

We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel

“We didn’t start the fire

It was always burning

Since the world’s been turning

We didn’t start the fire

No we didn’t light it

But we tried to fight it”

3

War” by Bob Marley

Until the philosophy

Which hold one race superior and another

Inferior

Is finally

And permanently

Discredited

And abandoned

Everywhere is war

Me say war

That until there no longer

First class and second class citizens of any nation

Until the color of a man’s skin

Is of no more significance than the color of his eyes

Me say war

That until the basic human rights

Are equally guaranteed to all

Without regard to race

4

Revolution” by Nina Simone

And now we got a revolution

Cause I see the face of things to come

Yeah, your Constitution

Well, my friend, its gonna have to bend

I’m here to tell you about destruction

Of all the evil that will have to end.

Some folks are gonna get the notion

I know they’ll say I’m preachin’ hate

But if I have to swim the ocean

Well I would just to communicate

Its not as simple as talkin’ jive

The daily struggle just to stay alive

5

Revolution” by The Beatles

But if you want money for people with minds that hate

All I can tell is brother you have to wait

Don’t you know it’s gonna be

All right, all right, all right

You say you’ll change the constitution

Well, you know

We all want to change your head

You tell me it’s…

6

We Gone Be Alright” by Kendrick Lamar

We gon’ be alright

Do you hear me, do you feel me? We gon’ be alright

7

Ohio” by Crosby Stills and Nash

Gotta get down to it

Soldiers are cutting us down

Should have been done long ago

8

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” – Gil Scott Heron

You will not be able to stay home, brother

You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out

You will not be able to lose yourself on skag

And skip out for beer during commercials, because

The revolution will not be televised

9

“Soweto Blues” by  Miriam Makeba with Hugh Masekela

The children got a letter from the master

It said: no more Xhosa, Sotho, no more Zulu.

Refusing to comply they sent an answer

That’s when the policemen came to the rescue

Children were flying bullets dying

The mothers screaming and crying

The fathers were working in the cities

The evening news brought out all the publicity

10

A Change Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke

It’s been too hard living, but I’m afraid to die

‘Cause I don’t know what’s up there, beyond the sky

It’s been a long, a long time coming

But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

11

Get Up Stand Up” by Bob Marley

Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!

Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!

Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!

Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight!

 

12

I Want to Break Free” by Queen

I want to break free

I want to break free

I want to break free from your lies

You’re so self satisfied I don’t need you

I’ve got to break free

13

Southern trees bearing strange fruit

Blood on the leaves and blood at the roots

Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze

Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant south

Them big bulging eyes and the twisted mouth

Scent of magnolia, clean and fresh

Then the sudden smell of burning flesh

“Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday