Racial Justice Protests during the Pandemic
During the pandemic, the murder of George Floyd sparked global attention to police brutality and systematic racism in the United States. Despite social distancing recommendations by the CDC, people across the world marched and protested for the Black Lives Matter movement. Between May and late June of 2020, nearly 20 million people in America participated in these demonstrations in support of both George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, another Black person killed by the police.
Some called this period the “Racial Reckoning Summer of 2020” as it propelled conversations about systemic racism being a public health crisis, discriminatory policing, inequalities in housing, education, healthcare, as well as the prison industrial complex.
While some elected officials were pushing for police reform, the country was reckoning with the idea of abolition, or the complete defunding of policing as we know it. From long-standing activists like Angela Davis and Mariame Kaba to academics, the concept of abolishing police and prisons finally made its way into mainstream conversations. Our generation's maturation in the world of police reform became more apparent last summer although it is a result of the cumulative effects of twenty-plus years of increasing policing.