Make the Hashtags Stop: More Responses To Police Shootings
Yesterday we covered the senseless, tragic murder of Alton Sterling—the man who was shot on Tuesday by police outside of a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as he was already pinned down on the ground. And while certainly unsurprising, it’s no less bone-chilling to find out that yet another innocent black man has been killed by police since—and was live-streamed to Facebook.
On Wednesday evening in Falcon Heights, outside of Minneapolis, Philando Castile was in the car with his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds and her daughter when a police officer shot him four times in the arm after asking him to retrieve his license and registration. Reynolds’ cell phone video, which captures the immediate aftermath of the shooting, shows a bloodied, soon to be (if not already) dead Castile leaning on her as the police officer is still pointing his gun at Castile and Reynolds’ daughter sits in the backseat. Castile was announced dead on the scene. The video, which Reynolds posted shortly thereafter to her Facebook, has gotten over 200K shares and 3.4M views, and has been widely circulated by many other websites.
Castile, like Sterling and countless other black men and women, have been unjustly and cruelly targeted by white police officers simply because these officers can’t seem to get a grip on reality. And we’ve had enough. So stop killing us.
In the clip, Wilmore addresses one of the leading arguments of the Black Lives Matters naysayers: that all lives matter, and not just black lives. And yet, there’s a reason why no one takes to the streets to chant “all lives matter” after the shooting of an innocent black man or woman. Yes, all lives matter, Wilmore argues, “but all people don’t have the same uniquely fraught history with law enforcement that black people do.” So now people are fighting back with the hashtag #stopkillingus, because evidently some people haven’t gotten the message clear enough: black people are part of the human race. Somehow, this is still forgotten.
“There’s always an immediate takedown of the victim’s character,” Wilmore noted last night, showing a news clip of reporters listing all of the criminal offenses against Sterling. Clearly, however, Sterling’s criminal offenses aren’t the problem at hand; after all, Wilmore reminded us, “Martha Stewart has a criminal record.”
“Frankly we’re tired of seeing this shit,” Wilmore sighs. And many celebrities have taken to social media to voice their similar frustrations and opinions on the subject.
Rihanna posted this video on her Instagram of a mother furiously talking about how she is sick of these deaths trending on twitter, and the deaths of innocent lives amounting to nothing more than a hashtag.
Other stars that have spoken out in the wake of these shootings include Drake, Retta, Gabrielle Union and Issa Rae, who started a GoFundMe Campaign to help provide education for Sterling’s children, including his 15-year-old son.
When Retta, best known for playing Donna Meagle on Parks and Recreation, sent out several tweets against the shootings, only to be met with responses like “no,” and “shut upppp.”
— Retta (@unfoRETTAble) July 7, 2016
If all lives matter… SHOW US!!! Prove it! Show us our bodies hold the same value. There is no excuse for the slaughter. None.
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) July 7, 2016
And earlier today, Beyoncé addressed the shootings in an open letter that she posted on her website. “This is not a plea to all police officers but toward any human being who fails to value life. The war on people of color and all minorities needs to be over,” Beyoncé wrote. “Fear is not an excuse. Hate will not win.”
Say it loud and proud girl.
Stay tuned to Milk for more on this developing story.