By Lauren Free

With all of the events that our nation has experienced in the past few months I’m sure most of us are feeling pretty overwhelmed. From dealing with the pandemic to the civil uprising we are currently experiencing, it can be easy to lose focus on what’s important and what the core of these issues are with misleading information being thrown around. I have seen the opinions of and spoken to many people in our Vail community and would like to give my input on the Black Lives Matter and police brutality issues we are facing, as I have seen a lot of misinformed information out there.

According to a study done by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2019, black men are 2.5 times more likely to be shot and killed by a police officer than a white man. We have seen viral video after video of this playing out, and even outside of those videos it’s still happening to black people all across our country.  It is a horrific statistic and one that requires immediate government change.

A common misconception that seems to be in many people’s minds is saying “black lives matter ” somehow takes away from any other race and their lives being important. This is simply not the case; black lives matter means that as a country we need to value and take action for black lives in the same way that we do white lives. I have seen a pattern repeating over my lifetime of police killing black men and women unjustly and receiving barely, if any, repercussions for the murders they are committing. In the last few weeks, we have seen egregious amounts of police brutality taking place against completely peaceful protesters of all races which has been caught on video multiple times.

This should be a wakeup call for all Americans; we need radical change in the police force and the way they are trained in de-escalation so that people of color don’t immediately feel fear and terror when having any type of interaction with officers. I hope that my words have been helpful in helping even a single person have a better understanding of what this movement is about. We need to come together, fight for change, and rework the way we view race and power structures. Systematic racism is real and has been around in our country since its founding. Please educate yourself as much as you possibly can on the hardships minorities face in America and the history behind them. We can absolutely demand better for ourselves and make this country a safe place for all to live.

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