Where to begin? George Floyd, a 49-year-old Black man is on the ground outside of Cup Foods on Chicago Avenue South in Minneapolis around 8 p.m. “I can’t breathe”, he says. A police officer is kneeling on his neck. He pleads for his life. “They’re going to kill me”, he says… They did. The callousness and indifference of his killing captured on a bystander’s cell phone video camera.
I do not have words for what I feel or think about this. Hollow, empty, exhausted, outrage – perhaps? Incredulous? (Yet again) as my mind runs through the long list of unarmed Black men, women, and children killed by the police since Michael Brown’s killing in 2014. That is only the recent past. What about those going farther back in time, from the Jim Crow Era, let’s say, whose names we do not know and numbers we cannot count when the preferred method of extra-judicial execution was lynching? Racial terrorism and White supremacy live on.
This screening of SHOT is needed and is right for this moment. It is also intended for WHITE ALLIES and those White people who say they stand with and want to PARTNER with Black and People of Color in the struggle to dismantle racism and White supremacy. In probably one of the most hopeful and optimistic speeches ever given by a Black leader, then-Senator Barack Obama spoke in his “A More Perfect Union” speech on March 18, 2008, of an “unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people.” A belief that morality, the “right thing to do,” would win out. The “American people” he speaks of are White people. The truth and reality of SHOT to Black and Brown people is already known and it is White people that are being asked to be decent, generous, and to do the right thing, as a moral imperative.
In an effort to ENGAGE you and be ENGAGED with you, we are asking that before you view SHOT you ask yourself the following questions, then again after the viewing:
- What are you DOING to move the needle forward toward racial equality?
- What are you DOING to dismantle racism and White supremacy?
- Do you think you need to DO something?
- If you think you are already DOING, do you think that is enough?
- Do you want to begin to DO or DO more to end the violence directed towards Black and Brown people?
Do not take these questions as a way to make you feel guilty or to shame you. That is not their intention. Think of them as tools for you to begin to measure where you are and how you might move into ACTION. We need you to share in the heavy lifting of this demolition project.