Local and national protests persevere across the country

Anna Gould, Reporter

A modern civil rights movement has ignited and is spreading across the country. Protests have erupted like wildfires and are only gaining momentum. From protests in Portland, Ore. to Kenosha, Wis., demonstrations have been taking place all over the United States. Even places close to home like Charleston and Springfield have experienced this revolutionary wave as well. 

Earlier this year on May 25, an unarmed African-American man fell victim to police brutality once again. During a routine police call in Minneapolis, Minn., George Floyd was detained by law enforcement for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill. Suddenly, the situation turned south. In a matter of minutes, Floyd was handcuffed on the ground with police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee placed on his neck. For eight minutes and forty-six seconds, Chauvin disregarded Floyd’s pleas about not being able to breathe. As a result, George Floyd was killed. This not only sparked immediate outrage in Minneapolis, but across the nation. Within days of Floyd’s death, peaceful demonstrations turned violent. Instigators took advantage of protesting against police brutality to rob, loot and vandalize communities. Sadly, this was not the end of it. 

A countless number of defenseless African-Americans have fallen victim to police brutality this year. This is a tragic recurring theme, but the only difference is that we are finally paying attention to those who have been crying out for far too long. 

An all-too familiar situation occurred in Kenosha, Wis., on Aug. 23. Again, another African-American man who was detained by police was shot in the back at point-blank range seven times by officer Rusten Sheskey. His name is Jacob Blake. This event only added fuel to the already raging fire. Violent protests broke out the following day, and the National Guard were eventually deployed. Kyle Rittenhouse, a teen from Illinois, added to the senseless violence by fatally shooting two protesters and injuring another. Eventually, Rittenhouse was arrested, and he was charged for his crimes. However, the officer responsible for paralyzing Jacob Blake is still walking free as we speak. 

Peaceful demonstrations have taken place locally as well. In Charleston and Springfield, Ill., gatherings of thousands held a rally supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and putting an end to police brutality. 

The past few months have revealed decades of injustice happening in our country. From the misuse of power by those we should trust the most to systemic racism, it is evident a revolution is occurring right before our eyes. The protests are challenging the status quo and will most definitely define the 21st century.

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