Police brutality not just a black problem

Opinions Columnist

It is important that we acknowledge all lives lost to law enforcers.

Sandra Bland and Freddie Gray have garnered major media attention, but many other cases of police brutality against minorities can fall to the wayside.

Police and law enforcement officials are employed to uphold the law and protect this country’s citizens. How are minorities or any individuals in this country supposed to feel safe when there are cases like Antonio Zombrano-Montes and Sureshbhai Patel’s occurring all across the country?

Antonio Zombrano-Montes was a migrant orchard worker in Washington who was shot and killed by law enforcement officers after surrendering. Now, his wife has no husband to love and his mother, no son to adore.

Meanwhile, 57-year-old Sureshbhai Patel was walking down the street when cops were called because there was reportedly a "skinny black guy" looking "suspicious." Turns out, Patel is not African-American but a man from India who came to America to visit his son and grandchild.

The cops forced Patel to the ground upon making contact, injuring his spine and partially paralyzing the man for life. He is someone’s father and grandfather. Imagine what it must feel like to see a loved one paralyzed by the same people Americans trust to keep them safe and protected.  

Over 850 lives have been lost to police, ranging from white to brown and, of course, black. 850 families now have a gaping hole where their loved one once resided. Police did not protect those who they swore to keep safe over 850 times. These people are gone now—no longer laughing, smiling, fighting and loving. The saddest part is that this number continues to grow.

Black lives matter, as do Latino lives, Indian lives, Asian lives and white lives. I refuse to say “all lives matter” because the intent of that phrase is to take the power, meaning and intention away from the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

The “Black Lives Matter” rallying cry was not made to say black lives are more important. The movement was created to say black lives also matter in a society that has historically and routinely dehumanized us as people, and continues to do so.

We all need to stand together now, because police violence is not just the black fight—this is the American fight. Americans everywhere are fighting for a country everyone can feel safe in.

Please Bobcats, when you happen to be pulled over or approached by law enforcement, be polite, respectful and compliant—no matter what your race is. Think not only of yourself, but family, friends and the people you have yet to meet.

This is not a rant against police and law enforcement, but a plea to my fellow students and friends to please be careful with their lives. If we won’t, who will?

Follow Mikala Everett on Twitter @mikala_maquella.