A mother is working hard to give her children some food, a father is working hard to provide. They both work hard to home school their children. Their money is coming down to the double digits, every night they cry in bed wondering where their next meal will be. They watch the news everyday as their house bills stack up, their car bills get worse and worse. They wonder where and how they will pay their water bill. As business start to close and people start to work from home, the fathers job does not offer that. He is told that he can continue working or voluntarily leave with no pay. That night, he talks it over with his wife and they make the choice that the husband should continue to work, but he will live in a hotel for the time being. This was a choice he never imagined he would make. His two children are both under the age of 10, he was wondering how he would tell his children, how they would take it. So many doubts, but at least his family would be safe. As the weeks pass, the virus count went up and it hit his neighborhood. He had instructed his wife and children to stay inside the house and not go anywhere, because he fears he may never see them again.
This is one of the realities of many families here in America. Many will not see their loved ones for a very long time, many will not see their loved one ever. As it continues to take over America, jobs get delayed, bills get delayed, interest starts to build up, people start to freak out. Things start to fall apart. People are looking for answers , they are searching for some relief. Some even start to go stir crazy, their salons are not opening, their favorite restaurants are staying closed. Things are no longer normal and that is what is scaring people. The normal does not exists anymore, the normal is gone. People stay home as much as they can, compare their lives with others. Neighborhood watch their yard to find something to complain about, but in the back of their mind, they just want to go back to the normal and that is what frustrates them. Every little thing starts to bother everyone and that is when the unthinkable happens, something that was expected, but yet unexpected.
As businesses and restaurants start to open, the people start to go stir crazy, the normal is coming back, yet it was not enough. The unthinkable happens, a police officer kills an African American. The people start to riot over racism and police brutality, they start to burn down businesses that did not even get involved, they start to block highways to stop people from going to work. That same family that was struggling during the virus, is now finding new challenges of how the husband will even get to work, how he will provide. The way to his job is blocked. He later finds out that his job was burned to the ground by the riots and now the paychecks stop coming in. They have to fully rely on government help and handouts, but right now the government has its hands full. A once thriving family that just wanted to make a living is now down to level that they fought so hard to avoid.
As the people start to riot, they start to argue with each other over social media. Words are thrown back and forth, friends are lost and people are killed. Is this now the new normal? People just wanted a peaceful protest, but now people are being killed over something that could have been handled in the right way. What is the right way though? What do the people demand? Justice? America has a bad history of culture differences and fights, America will always have that history, because it is a diverse country. We quickly learn that we cannot change someone’s mind about what they believe, we quickly see how people think about other people. Things are changing and it is changing in a bad way. People watch as their city is torn apart, vandalized, and burned. The city that they worked so hard to build, the city that they worked so hard to live in, is gone. Friends are torn, because of their differences. Families are torn, because of what they stand for. People start taking things so offensively that every cost of reason is lost. People start to accuse others of what they think they believe in, of what they think that person is. I, myself got called a “Tea party” because I mentioned that once this riot is all over, every tax sale on every merchandise will go up, hence is why business owners are okay with their business burning to the ground. I mention this, because we just suffered from a virus that cause people to hoard, that caused merchandise to go up in value. I find myself spending over $100 at the grocery store instead of the usual $50-75.
That family that I mentioned is already suffering, they have to ration their food, because grocery stores are closing to protect their employees, restaurants are closing in fear of the riots. Now, that same family will have to figure out how to feed themselves for who knows how long. The option to go to the store is not there anymore. Their life is altered and now, they are not sure how they will survive. Stores start to close are 5pm, right when people get off work. The option to go the grocery is no longer. They have to figure out what to eat with the little food they have left. They wonder how long this will go on. If the grocery stores will be raided also.
These protests started for one thing, to stand up for brutality against police officers, one bad cop killed an African American. I begin to see all groups stand up for themselves, but I also people who just want it to stop, because they are tired of businesses closing, tired of suffering and tired of things not being normal. As everything was about to finally open, the protest and riots started. As things were about to return to normal, it did not seem like it was enough for people, why? Is it because they are bored? Why pick this time to stand up for change? Why? As I reach out to people for answers, I never get a straight answer on why. They just say ” I want to make a change.” They yell “I cannot breath,” over and over again. Lay themselves on the ground in honor of the death. As I do more research on these protest, I find out that these peoples voices just want to be heard. They want it to be peaceful, when the riots start, their voices are no longer heard. Their points will never get across, yet the change is happening. America is playing its own war, we have fought for diversity in America for years, but we could never find the answer.
Natives, Blacks, whites, Chinese Americans the list can go on and on. We created a diverse country and we are making a war that we cannot win. I keep getting told since I am native, I need to be angry about all these issues. When I stand up for peace and find a new answer, because protest and riots clearly did not fix the issue, I get told that I do not know what I am talking about. They tell me that I should be ashamed to be a native and I have no idea what is going on.
People continue to say that that these big businesses will recover fast, but the smaller ones will not. A business is a business and those businesses had people working in them, now they have to figure out a way to feed their families. Figure out if they will get smaller paychecks so the company can rebuild their business.
As the days pass, people start to stand up for what they believe in. But, in all this chaos, it gets overpowered by the riots, the news do not even share the peaceful protest or what the people want and demand. The president orders a terrorist attack and the national guard is called, what is happening to this world? This was suppose to be a peaceful protest right? People are standing up for their rights and their beliefs. Yet, this looting and killing is taking over. The peoples voice are no longer being heard, it has become a big mess.
The people want to stand up for what they believe in. The years of trauma on African Americans, the struggle with the Indigenous people and the hate that someone has a different view than you. History starts to pop up on the social media platforms, the hanging of African Americans to the shootings of Native tribes. Yet, when people want to speak up for these differences, they are torn down by the things around them, they are taken advantage of. These protest were to prove that there was so much hate towards certain groups of people and it needed to stop.
It has come to a point that people want to stand up for change and are no longer being heard, the riots are taking over. The riots are making the news and no changes are being done, because they got ignored due to the looting. That is why they are frustrated, because all anyone wants is a peaceful protest. We see children being brought to those protest. When I asked why, I got told “Every BODY counts,” but are we forcing our own views on our children, when they do not know how to make choices for themselves yet? As I was growing up, my family forced me to believe that white people were bad people. They hated Natives and we should hate them back. We should find every reason for things they say as a racists view. When I was in 5th grade, my teacher divided me and other native children from the white children. I immediately realized what was going on. I knew it was wrong, but I did not fight the teacher. I realized I needed to use this experience to help others become aware that sometimes their actions can force children into one view. My native family would have thrown that teacher out of the school and murdered him in some back corner. I knew that I had to make change, not by forcing others to believe in different views, but by my own action, by the way I wanted to grow up. The way I wanted to see people as Natives should be. ” Not everyone will see the same point as you, not everyone will agree. Not everyone will understand and that is okay. There will always be some type of hate towards certain groups of people, there will be some type of hate towards what you post, what you say and who you say it to. I meant some African Americans who really wanted to make a difference and they are doing it through their actions. They are making themselves into better people, they refuse to get involved in these protest and riots, because they realized that they are making a change in a different way, they are making history by their actions in different ways. That is something to be proud of.
We watch as the truckers try to deliver supplies and packages to innocent peoples homes, as the national guard patrols the streets and people start to question the governments intentions, social media shows only the bad side of these stories? Why, because social media has the power to change someone’s view. I watch as a police officer is shot for defending his place of work, as place that provides food for his family and place that protects us from criminals that can kill us in our own house. A place that has records of victims who were sexually assaulted, a place that holds records of criminals that rapped young girls. A place that has records of stalking and abuse. A place that holds all the records and they are gone in a matter of minutes. Is this the type of change we are looking for? We want to stop police brutality, but is the way to do it? I watch as police bow to the peoples wishes and honor the fallen who have died in police hands. The police believed that this was enough, but the people kept going. What do the people want? The peaceful protest voices are not being heard. The violence is taking over.
I hear people say ” you are white, you will not understand.” I was once told this by my own family that since I did not get fully raised by my native family, so I do not understand why there is hate, why we have to hate the “White people.” Everyone has their own view and everyone will say these words. Yet, I was only told the hate, I was only told about the bad history, I never told about my culture background. From the beginning, how natives welcome all races and colors, I was just taught to hate. As I do more research on my culture background, I find the traditionally, natives helped all people, because we are all made this world. Every body, every spirit is made of mother earth. Once America was made, they took that out of so many cultures and now for generations, many cultures forgot about their spiritual background. They forgot what their ancestors stood for and the hate just grew. Many generations were never taught how to be the heritage that they are, they were just taught the hate. I, myself, had to do some research on me. I had to look passed the hate and see if this is really our history did we actually get along?
We will never be able to change their mind and that is the reality of the world, we cannot change someones mind once they hate a certain group of people. When the police officer killed an African America, all the world wanted the outsiders to see what the hate against what color skin you are. Once that was thrown into the social media platforms, that is the only thing they wanted to believe. Did
every police officer suffer in the actions of one police officer? Yes…. why? because all the people saw was police brutality, do all police officers stand that way? no… I once saw a quote that said ” If you have 10 bad cops and 1000 good cops, you have 1010 bad cops.” no one is accountable for anyone’s actions. We have come to realize that we cannot change the view on what people think, on who they are. No matter how many training’s or how many meetings those cops had about discrimination, that one bad cop will never changed his mind. That is what we are having troubles seeing, America is not just one voice, we have many voices and that can be our weakness.
When I was in college, I was asked to write a 200 page paper on diversity for a book being published and it was starred in many articles and even my professor shared it to other classes. I mentioned that, America is a crazy diverse world, all people want to do it stand up for what they believe in, but it is so hard to. The simplest thing, just hold up a sign that says ” I want to be heard” will never be heard. Why? because America has so many voices, so many views. It is hard to speak as one. Diversity is the hardest topic to speak about, it is tearing families and friends apart and even makes things worse. People are standing up for what they believe in, but so many innocent lives are being lost, we are losing to a war that we created ourselves. America is a diverse country and we made it that way. We have a hard and rough history that we honor, we learn from. But sometimes, those people never let go of what was and history will repeat itself.
As families fall more and more behind on their bills, because their jobs were destroyed, their pathway to work was blocked. It becomes hard and harder to provide. There are families out there who lost their homes due to being behind on bills, now they have to worry about finding a safe place to sleep without being looted or their property being damage. They have to wonder where their next meal will come from, because of all these changes. Is this change we are looking for? Was this a good time to demand change after so many families are suffering after Covid-19? Some will say yes and others will say no, because we are different voices. When these riots are all over, who will be the ones cleaning up our cities? Not the people who looted the business. The people who just want things to go back to normal, who stayed away from all the looting and kept their families safe. Those are the ones who will share this part of history and remind everyone how it is important to honor those of different diversity, those are the ones who will rebuild the city. Those people are the ones who will make the change. Why? because they watched as people threw tantrums, they watched and realized that this is not the right way. This is not the right way to be heard. They are trying to spread good and repair those families who lost their business, no matter what color your are. Those who are helping, are helping anyone who needs it. No matter who and where you come from. Those people will make history.
Alright, now let us ask ourselves why this all started. Why did all of sudden people go sensitive over this? Why couldn’t we just find justice in the one cop that killed the African America? How come it did not stand in that state? So many questions, well, we were all coped up inside our houses for a few months, with no real answers about a virus and some of us thought it was a lie. We became bored with staying inside our homes, we became bored with our own drama. We started looking at what was going on around the world, buses of people were brought to fight for justice in Minneapolis, but is it what that community wanted? People got bored with their own lives, because we were all forced to stay inside and alter our lives for a few months. The littlest things started to bother us, we started to get sensitive over everything said. Social Media altering the way we were seeing things, because it was the only form of news we were getting at that time. We were not allowed to see our loved ones. It may have been easy for you or me, but some people got a little stir crazy.
I am going to get a little personal with you here, I was told that since I am Lakota Native, I should be out there protesting. But, the thing is, the protest are not being heard. I have to reach out to people who are protesting just to see what is going on. I was told that I am Native I need to stand up for my culture. Native history is a dark history, something that the history books do not teach you is tradition. The history books give you what you want to hear. Natives give their voices by sing, stories and dance. I was told in my own hometown, that a group of natives were stopped from entering that town, because all they wanted to do was loot. I was also told a group of natives were beating drums in a protest and dancing for their lives lost. Natives dance for all people of the earth, no matter what color you are, where you come or who you are. That is something that is not taught in the history books. My point to all this, is that hate has grown so much, that our roots to own heritage is wrong. Every culture in a America has a right to their own voice, ever culture in America has a right to stand up for the beliefs. That is how America is made. These diverse differences sometimes are not heard, because of the bad in America. I am going to go back to the “1000 good and 10 bad cops” statement. The reason I bring this back up, because I compared that statement to 1000 natives and 10 bad natives. Not all natives , not all African American, not all LGBQT are, not all chinese Americas are bad, not all cops are bad. But, yet this started, because both sides assumed something that hurt America. From where I grew up, did natives rob stores? yes…did white people rob stores… yes… but our social media makes it so we see it differently. We see it in a way of hate.
This protest was suppose to about standing up for what you believe in, what your values are. Now, it seems that it has destroyed America and torn us in all directions.
***Images come from several social media platforms shared with me for this blog****