The Westside Gazette Newspaper is honored to feature these editorial contributions made by local students.
July 13, 2013, marks the start of the Black Lives Matter movement. This day was so important because a year before July 13, 2013, on February 26, 2012, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmerman. Initially, Zimmerman was not charged. After public rallies and movements, Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter.
On July 13, 2013, The Black Lives Matter movement officially started when Zimmerman was later acquitted of murdering Martin. November 23, 2012, Jordan Davis was shot at a gas station. African American teenager Jordan Davis, 17, and his three friends had stopped in a gas station parking lot to buy gum and cigarettes.
They were approached by a white man, Michael Dunn, and after a verbal argument about the volume of the teenagers’ music, Dunn shot 10 rounds into their car, killing Davis. Dunn told jurors he “thought” he saw the barrel of a shotgun in the vehicle after he asked Davis and the three friends to turn down their music. However, the police did not find a gun in the car the teenager was in. Michael Dunn told jurors the argument came to the point “where I had no choice but to defend myself.” Dunn was charged with life in prison with no parole that same month.
On July 22, 2016, Charles Kinsey was shot while trying to help a patient with autism. The UNARMED Charles Kinsey was shot and injured in Miami while lying on the ground with his arms raised in the air and pleading with officers to hold their fire. Mr. Kinsey’s leg was injured in the incident, which came from Kinsey trying to help a disoriented autistic man who had wandered away from a group home where Kinsey worked as a therapist.
In April of 2019, a 15-year-old African American boy named Delucca Rolle was slammed to the ground, brutally beaten, pepper-sprayed, and arrested outside of a McDonalds in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for picking up a cell phone that fell out of the pocket of a Black boy who was being arrested. I didn’t know it would be such a “threat” to pick up a phone.
“The three of us were outnumbered by the large group of students who were yelling, threatening us and surrounding us,” Krickovich wrote in a statement. “I had to act quickly, fearing II would get struck or having a student potentially grab weapons off my belt.”
The video shows Sgt. Greg Lacerra pepper spraying the boy in the face and throwing him down to the pavement. Krickovich moved to help Lacerra. The video shows he jumped on the boy, slammed his forehead on the pavement and punched him. Christopher Krickovich was fired.
There are so many incidents like this happening every day. To Black children and men and women. In the incident with Delucca Rolle, the video “wasn’t enough evidence.” The video showed EXACTLY what happened. So, why was it not enough evidence? These incidents need to stop. There should never be an excuse to let these things keep happening. That’s why we need to work together to help make a change for our posterity.