An Open Letter To America
On Monday, May 25, 2020, a disturbing video of a 46-year-old man (George Floyd) being murdered in broad daylight by four (4) white police officers, seized our various news feeds on every social media platform, and other online media outlets. Floyd, according to the video on this link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWzkgKPZWcw, walked to the Police car from a distant, probably ready to go for investigation for whatever offense, when he dropped on the ground and started getting strangulated by three (3) of the four (4) police officers at the scene.
In the video on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCMyyPz2t3o, it is clearly shown that Floyd got arrested in his car, and was pull on the sidewalks by two (2) police officers who toke him across the street where he met his unfortunate death. It is speculated that the victim was resisting arrest, for which the police had to apply force. But until this moment, all the videos we have seen are yet proven that Floyd was resisting arrest for which the police had used force.
Like Floyd, several BLACK folks have been maltreated by the US Police Forces according to many online News and videos publications in our possessions. Though difficult to watch, but serving as living evidence for our frustrations in the indefensible manners and forms in which the US Police have been abusing African–Americans since the ages of times; permit me therefore, to share with you links of few difficult to watch, but heart-touching videos.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPQimBNWytY– This link talks about the followings:
· The killing of a 43-year-old BLACK man (Eric Garner) on July 17, 2014 for “illegally” selling cigarettes in New York. Like Floyd, Eric repeated cried “I can’t breathe” until his demise.
· The killing of an 18-year-old BLACK boy (Michael Brown) on August 8, 2014, by a white police officer (Darren Wilson) for some reasons yet known. It is equally reported that the grand jury defended the perpetrator and said it wasn’t necessary for the officer to face criminal charges.
· The killing of a 25-year-old mentally ill BLACK man (Ezell Ford) on August 11, 2014. It is reported that Ford was shot three times in a close range by two (2) LA Police officers, despite the fact that he was unarmed.
· The killing of a 12-year-old BLACK boy (Tamir Rice) on November 22, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio, by police officers for carrying a toy gun.
· The killing of a 50-year-old BLACK man (Walter Scott) by a 33yrs old white Police officer (Michael Slager) on April 7, 2015 in North Charleston – South Carolina.
· The death of a 25-year-old BLACK man (Freddie Gray) – who died in police custody a week after his arrest. His autopsy says he had severed spine.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Rkctxo_LQI– This link talks about the followings:
· The brutalizing of a 64-year-old BLACK, deaf man (Pearl Pearson) in Oklahoma by a white police officer (Eric Foster) in 2014.
· Three years later, the police force in Oklahoma again shot another BLACK, deaf man (Magdiel Sanchez) right in his yard, believed to be 25yrs of age.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Q1qqMp5_o– This link talks about:
· The unjustifiable arrest of a BLACK man (Clarence Evans) whom the police took for someone else. According to the victim, he was in his yard with his kids when the Police moved on him. In this documentary, it’s noted that BLACKS are often arrested 2.5x as WHITE in the USA.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSktBppDiLg– This link talks about:
· A CHP officer beating a BLACK woman for walking along the highway roadside.
…and on and on, I could keep sharing links of daily violence and police brutalities being perpetrated against blacks in the USA.
Prior to the Floyd’s saga, which has prompted the writing of communication, I watched a video on Facebook showing some physical education exercise by little school children; challenging one another by pulling each other to their respective finish lines drawn by their teacher.
The Title of the Video is:
“WHEN THE LITTLE BLACK BOY WON, THE TEACHER MOVED THE FINISH LINE”.
See link below: https://web.facebook.com/watch/?v=2501403603259585&external_log_id=9f67b0d8c18253f1f2762eee9b11961a&q=Club%20R%C3%A9silience%20when%20the%20little%20black%20boy%20won%2C%20the%20teacher%20moved%20the%20finish%20line.
In this video, the two boys (Black and White), representing their respective teams, are pulling one another in opposite directions. Though the Black boy (who seems younger) applied much energy to pull his opponent to his finish line, the Teacher denied him the victory over his white counterpart who looked older and stronger. At the end, the helpless BLACK boy got defeated.
I must admit that the scene in that video gave me the sense of belief that even our little black brothers and sisters in your schools of early preparatory primary educations are yet to receive the fairness of the sweetness of the “FREE LAND OF LIBERTY”.
Considering the above, I write to remind you of Article–1 & 2 of the Universal Declarations on Human Rights, a promissory note signed in the presence of 57 nations at the adoption of the “Resolution–217” on 10th, December, 1948 – in Palais de Chaillot, Paris, at the third UN General Assembly of the “then” 58 member States; which states:
Article – 1: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
Article – 1: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, COLOUR, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”
With the outlined of facts gathered from very credible sources, backed by videos showing the frequent abuse and lynching of the BLACK race by state security officers, only but explain why I chose to write this letter.
Using this time, it is also important to remind you that history has not been so kind to us as a race. From the establishment of the slave industry – fueled primarily by the labour of capture freed and skilled Africans to the partitioning of our land amongst western hegemonies, which laid the foundation for centuries of mineral exploration and exploitation out of Africa in the name of colonialism to the colonial legacy we have in the neo-colonial economies that continue to make us the chief supplier of devalued raw materials in the capitalist market; it’s been almost entirely a pain to deal with. Our brothers in the Europe and the Americas are engaging in sub-human labor kinds just to get ends meet while they are constantly being chased, molested, and negatively branded as “undocumented/illegal immigrants”. In real sense, our brothers are out there collecting the crumbs of your massive exploitation ensure a decent live for our kind. These labels are the main reasons why they remain the targets of police brutality/murder.
By this, I am not inferring that America or Americans are evil in totality. Instead, I am arguing that the American society or justice system accommodates this act either in action or inaction. As students of history I have read tales of American heroism; I have read how America joined forces with other progressive nations to end the narcissist reign of Hitler that nearly wiped out the Jews as a people. I have read and continue to read legends of an America fronting the causes of oppressed people even away from home. As an adolescent, I witness the restoration of people and stability to my dear Liberia; having been torn apart by over 14yrs of civil and ethnic uneasiness, by America and her ally nations.
However, the uncountable cases of the shooting and killing of BLACKS in America indicate that there is something fundamentally wrong with the justice system. It leaves me to believe that white supremacist ideologies have a place in America. Such happenings weaken our faith in the universal leadership America has championed over the years.
In lieu of these and many more unmentioned, I have, through this means, come to remind America, if she has forgotten the inscriptions of her founding fathers’ creed as stated in paragraph two of the declaration of independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”.
These are not just words – but expressions of accepted values that demonstrate the dignity of all men regardless of color or creed. I am therefore asking America to ensure security and justice systems reforms.
For it befits a nation such as yours to ensure the safety and well-being of citizens, especially minorities. Let Floyd’s death, which shouldn’t have happened in the first place, set the stage for a renewed American commitment to the ideals of an equal and nonracial society, enshrined in the universal convention on the human rights which preamble states:
“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,”
Till then, like your White citizens, BLACKS lives matter, TOO!
Eugene Tuan-wleh Williams
Youth & Students’ Activist
Republic of Liberia
· US Embassy near Monrovia
· The World Press
· UN Secretary General