“Daddy Changed the World”
The artifact above is from a protest that occurred on May 31st in Boston, Massachusetts. Carrie Mays (pictured in the artifact) is a youth activist and a sophomore at UMass Boston. She “has facilitated community events such as dialogues about racism and spoken at national conferences. Change, she said, needs to begin when we uplift the voices of young people of color” (Laucharoen). Mays helped spread awareness of the protest occurring in Boston by creating a video to tell people that it would be a powerful movement as well as peaceful: “The march began at Nubian Square and drew together what Mays called a rainbow of people, individuals of different races chanting together in solidarity” (Laucharoen). Mays helped start this protest in the fight for George Floyd. George Floyd was an African-American man who was killed during an arrest after a store clerk alleged he had passed a counterfeit $20 bill in Minneapolis. Derek Chauvin, one of four police officers who arrived on the scene, knelt on Floyd's neck for a period initially reported to be 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Floyd continually repeated, “I can’t breathe,” however the officers there paid no attention and continued to kneel on his neck, which eventually killed him. This is where the quote “I can’t breathe” came from.
Starting in May, several protests occurred in Minneapolis, where George Floyd died. In fact, on May 5, 2020, Floyd died, and just one day after, May 26th, as well as May 27th, protests had spread from Minneapolis all the way around the country. Soon after it spread to different countries as well. This includes: “In Australia, there were major protests in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane that focused on the treatment of indigenous Australians. There were also demonstrations in France, Germany, Spain, and the UK. In Bristol, protesters tore down the statue of a 17th century slave trader and threw it into the harbor” (“George Floyd Death: US Protests Timeline”). Every state in the United States took part in these protests.
I think that this artifact is a great example because it symbolizes what everyone was thinking. People and communities were able to take part in something that will forever go into history. It is unfortunate that people do not realize that discrimination, racism, and police brutality had occurred long before this. They at least may have not realized that it was so relevant. I think by bringing light to the situation that this has happened in the past goes to prove that it is part of cultural heritage because the impact from history continues until present day. So many more individuals who were not educated on the topic of police brutality as well as racism have been taught and now have a better understanding of it.
I chose this artifact specifically because it brings a back story as well as present-day issues up front. I mainly wanted to talk about George Floyd, however this picture not only represents him but his family and a new world understanding by others. This tragic event had a big impact on his family as well as the world. You can see Carrie Mays hold up a sign that says “Daddy Changed the World,” which was said by Gianna Floyd. Gianna is George Floyd's 6-year-old daughter.
I think that our generation has helped tremendously to bring awareness to this situation mainly because we have seen it happen and grew up talking and learning a lot about it in school. However, even though we have learned so much in school there is still so much information that we missed. Especially being someone who is white, I did not grow up experiencing racism and discrimination. I did not grow up having to be afraid of cops or having to be worried that someone would come up to me and discriminate against me just because of my skin color. I am happy to see that so many other people who are white as well, or anyone who simply just has not dealt with this horrible situation, have started to bring their attention to it all. Our generation wants to make a difference and by using social media to spread the word, and to tell when protests were, or just fight back and stand up to racists, we now have a whole new understanding of what minority races go through every day. Now, newer and younger generations are able to grow up with the Black Lives Matter movement, which will hopefully lead them to change the world in a better way for minorities that unfortunately still deal with discrimination, police brutality, and racism.
This tragic event of course brought a lot of attention and controversy, which is why the protests and backlash has been so intense within 2020 and even in 2021. As this topic of Black Lives Matter occurred around the world, and was brought attention to myself and others, I had several questions. The questions that were raised were not technically ones that I would ask anyone. They are more of ones that I let myself think about because it is not common sense that anyone would be able to answer on the spot. I always want to know: why have we as a country and people in general let this discrimination of other races get to this point? Why did we let this happen in the first place? I always ask myself why anyone would see other people as different just because of their skin color, and why do people think its okay to be racist? What makes Black people and minorities not like white people? We are all the same on the inside, and I think that 2020 was not only a year of disasters, but also a year where people became more educated and willing to stand up for what is right when it comes to these topics.
“George Floyd Death: US Protests Timeline.” BBC News, 4 June 2020, www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52921418.
Laucharoen, Shira. “Youth Organizers Experiences Tear Gas, Solidarity on Front Lines of Protest.” Dig Bos, 11 June 2020, https://digboston.com/youth-organizers-experience-tear-gas-solidarity-on-front-lines-of-protests/.