Aalyissa Cooley, Campus Echo
The murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in 2020 brought attention to the “Black Lives Matter Movement,” and it impacted this country for the better. Many people, including those in North Carolina, began marching on the streets, determined to make a change.
Although many believe protesting is dangerous, I think it did some good in this situation by prompting police reform here in North Carolina.
Protests are also valuable because they increase awareness of wrongdoing. Protesting for police reform and new laws is an excellent step in reducing the chances a Black person will be affected by police brutality in the future.
The protests that followed Floyd’s killing were widespread and emotional, thanks to the heartbreaking nine-minute video of the death in which police officer Derek Chauvin is seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck.
Protesters risked their well-being in the subsequent protests, suffering tear gas and rubber bullets to the face as they made their point.
There were results. On September 2, 2021, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed three police reform bills into law.
The first bill focuses on the mental health of police officers and ensures officers are mentally and emotionally stable enough to become police officers.
The second bill requires an officer to “…intervene in and report excessive use of force…” When an officer knows about a wrongful action, this bill will hold the officer accountable and ensure that more incidents will be reported.
The final bill signed focuses on the training of the police officer. Officers must complete their training in its entirety, so they are prepared for any situation.
The bill also allows more access to the general public to search to see if a police officer has been suspended. This information is crucial because it will enable anyone to track the repeated wrong actions of officers. It also informs them of the type of officers patrolling their neighborhoods.
Many people may consider protests dangerous because of their violent nature at times. During the 2020 protests, many people were tear-gassed, shot, and even killed.
However, change was able to happen because of the bravery of the protestors. If someone wants to see a difference, they must work towards that change.
In April 2021 Chauvin was sentenced to 21 years for second degree murder in the case. In February 2022 three other officers at the scene were convicted for their failure to intervene on behalf of Floyd. In life, anything worth having is worth working hard for.
The Black Lives Matter movement has helped this country in many ways. Laws have been enacted, officers have been punished, and this country is slowly taking steps forward to make life for Black people easier in America.
Although many people tried to stop the BLM protestors, the demonstrators kept going and are making even more changes. I will always encourage people to fight for what they want in life.