I've been staring at my computer for over an hour, trying to figure out something to say about Alton Sterling's murder. It's not the first video to show police using inexcusable force and ultimately murdering a black man, but those gunshots—at point blank range—make this stand out, somehow. Of course, it doesn't stand out. It's happening all the time. And people wonder why our black brothers and sisters feel angry, afraid and marginalized, in their cars, on their streets, in their own country.
Police brutality—especially against people of color—is a serious, deadly problem. Is that really up for debate, still? How many statistics, how many videos do we all need to see before we acknowledge something that exists? It should be enough that the entire black community has been telling us for years what's going on. We shouldn't need videos, but now we have them, so let's learn from them.
I don't know anything about anything when it comes to policing the streets, but I know I watched Alton Sterling get murdered in that video, by two police officers. I know there are countless decent police officers in our country, and I wish more of them would stand up and speak out against the brutality that we're seeing so often, and is happening so much more often than we even see. Every profession has those who abuse their power and do a disservice to the profession on the whole. It is not an attack on all police to call out certain officers who have proven themselves to be racist or excessively violent. It’s the only decent thing to do. Another man is dead for no reason, well, other than he was a black man, which is reason enough, too often.
And I don't care about Alton Sterling's record before his death. His past had nothing to do with him being killed, nor did it warrant his execution. All efforts to make him look somehow deserving of his fate only make the system—media included—look desperate and heartless. His death is a tragedy, for us all.
For those who still resist the Black Lives Matter call, watch the video of Alton Sterling being killed. Black Lives Matter activists have never been suggesting that their lives matter more than anyone else's, only that their lives matter as much as everyone else's. And in America, they still don't, not really, not yet. Another tragedy for us all.
I pray this heartbreaking video and gruesome crime generates a newfound awareness and a deeper call to action in all of us to continue to press for equality among all people in our country, not just in the rights we have, but in the way we're treated.
To the African-American community, for whom this tragedy affects most profoundly, and especially to the family of Alton Sterling, I am with you, in grief, in love, and in solidarity.