#IfTheyGunnedMeDown: How Gen Y Can Help Stop Police Brutality

Published by Nikeita Hoyte.

Michael Brown was a black male who was just starting life. He was 18, and getting ready to head off to college until life reared its ugly head. Brown was shot and killed on his way to his grandmother’s home. Here’s where the situation gets sticky: Michael was not only unarmed, but he was killed by a white officer, who let his body lay in the street for hours before any help was called to the scene.

Gen-Y has spoken up about the matter. On Twitter the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown is trending. The tag shows a pic stitch of a young person either partying, or doing something that the media would use as “proof” to show that they’re deserving of their death. The other picture is of the young person doing something positive in society, such as graduation pictures or someone wearing a uniform from the military. The hashtag is powerful because it shows how degrading the media is on a situation. Instead of actually getting to know the background on a victim, they’re ready to deface their character to the entire world.

We as a generation need to stand up against police violence in general. Police are supposed to protect us, but then this raises the question: who’s supposed to protect us from the police?

The elephant in the room however, is the divide between the races. To be honest, I’ve never seen a white guy get stopped and frisked by the police, and I probably never will. Some tweets have stated “White people shouldn’t be doing the #IfTheyGunnedMeDown” tag because they never faced the same struggles like Blacks have.

White, Black, Latino, Asian… it doesn’t matter. What matters is that an innocent young man lost his life over senseless police brutality. According to news reports, Brown was on his knees with his hands raised to the officer and telling him “I don’t have a weapon” and “Don’t shoot”.

Let’s take the past shootings of Trayvon Martin, Sean Bell and Emitt Till to fight back in a major way against police brutality. If we’re going to do it, however, we have to hit them where it hurts the most: through the media.

Rioting, looting stores, and even peaceful protesting is getting us absolutely nowhere. The New York Times made an on-the-field small documentary about the riots and the protests going on in Ferguson. Protesters are being sprayed with tear gas by the police if they don’t dismember themselves and go home. They’re shot at with rubber bullets and wooden pellets if they raise their voices to speak their minds.

It’s time for Gen – Y to use the power of social media to really push the issue. Let’s stand up for Michael and put a stop to police brutality. Start by doing the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown. Let’s take it to all our local news stations, let’s send in opinion pieces about what police brutality is doing to our communities. Let’s hold candlelight vigils and make flyers with facts about our rights against the police.

By us not doing anything it’s not bringing us closer together or making us feel like our law enforcement is making us feel safe. Our law enforcement is scaring us to the point where we don’t feel comfortable to walk around in our neighborhoods.

The more we stand here and continue to just let things fly under the radar, the more things continue to get tense. We have to stand together. Let’s be heard.

Featured Image Via Wikimedia Commons

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