Give me liberty, or give me death.
– Patrick Henry (March 23, 1775)
Those famous words that convinced Virginia to join the Revolutionary War, sum up what America means to me. Our country was born from riots and protests. I remember learning in grade school about the tar and feathering of British tax collectors and the Sons of Liberty dumping tea in the harbor. And the riots didn't end with the birth of this country. Martin Luther King Jr. lead several peaceful protests to fight for equal rights for black Americans. After he was assassinated, riots broke out in over 100 American cities, leading to $47M in damages and more importantly the Civil Rights Act of 1968. In 1992 People took to the streets after a trial jury acquitted four officers of the Los Angeles Police Department for the use of excessive force in the arrest and beating of Rodney King, an incident eerily similar to what brought riots to our streets in 2020.
Our country is not used to wars being fought on our soil. We have detached ourselves from violence, war, and anything that makes us feel like we are unsafe. But, that doesn't mean these things aren't still happening. Our country is at war constantly half way across the globe, we obtained this land from the Native Americans through bloodshed, this country is built on the back of slaves, we deny immigrants attempting to flee certain death at the border daily. But now that people are looting your local target you are astonished at the injustice? Things can be replaced, lives cannot.
Riots and protests make people feel uncomfortable and scared and that is the point. History has showed us time and time again, if people aren't being treated fairly by their government, it is our American right to raise hell and demand change. When we knelt with Colin Kaepernick they told us that wasn't the right way to be heard, when we started the Black Lives Matter movement, we were told that wasn't the right way. And now we are outraged, grief-stricken, and demanding to be heard because the system we are protesting against will never find a right way for us to be heard.
History is repeating itself, are you on the right side?