In The Scope: Gun Protests Should Not Overlook Efforts of Equality For All

“In The Scope With Joshua M. Hicks” is  a weekly column from the Managing Editor of WARR 

This week the date of March 14 became a national day of anti-gun protest in response to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month involving a 19 year-old former student of the Parkland, Fla. school using an AR-15 to kill 17 people and injure 14 others.

The protest received a lot of support and I am proud of my generation in support of making their voices heard, but when a black man protests peacefully against the injustices within America and ends up receiving the total opposite of what he deserved, inequality lies, and it is something we as a people should not support.

For years, minorities, specifically young black men, have experienced some form of police brutality and mass incarceration, racial systematic actions that have been applied toward blacks since the Jim Crow era. Colin Kaepernick took his knee along with teammate Eric Reid to start a peaceful protest, a movement that raises awareness regarding murdered unarmed black men like Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Tamar Rice, Mike Brown, Eric Gray and others experience everyday. Many people spoke negatively against Kaepernick, including Vice President Mike Pence and President Trump, who openly called for Kaepernick’s unemployment.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now,” Trump said to a cheering crowd at a rally. “Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!”

Trump received exactly what he asked for. While other athletes across the league joined the movement, owners like Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones, a Trump supporter, threatened his athletes from playing if they choose to protest, even though the protest itself had nothing to do with disrespecting the American flag.  The NFL ultimately used this approach to blackball Kaepernick and keep him out the league.

President Trump has abandoned gun control proposals that the Republican-led Congress had never even inched toward supporting, according to New York Times. However, the government is still showing support for the youth and Trump is considering legislative arming teachers to help make schools safer.

“I have been heartened to see children across this country using their voices to speak out and try to create change,” Mr. Trump told The New York Times. “They’re our future and they deserve a voice.”

I am glad that the White House supports the youth, but where is the support for Kaepernick? Where is the support of the black families that lost their children, fathers and husbands due to the historical racial systematic issues that were embedded in these government officials?

Based on a national study by the Washington Post, since August 1966, 150 mass shootings, which is proven mainly a white male issue, occurred in the US. 1,077 were killed, 176 were children/teenagers. 155 shooters, all but three were males and 88 of them died at or near the scene.

According to the Guardian, black men between the ages of 15 and 34 are nine times more likely than any other American to be killed by law enforcement, which is also a rate four times than a young white male. In everyday Chicago-life between 2010 and 2015, four out of five African-American males were killed by police and out of 435 shootings, officers killed 92 people and wounded 170 others. One of the shootings involved one of our very own, LaQuan McDonald.

According to the NAACP, in 2014, African Americans constituted 2.3 million, or 34 percent, of the total 6.8 million correctional population. African Americans are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of whites. The imprisonment rate for African American women is twice that of white women. African Americans and whites use drugs at similar rates, but the imprisonment rate of African Americans for drug charges is almost six times that of whites. African Americans represent 12.5 percent of illicit drug users, but 29 percent of those arrested for drug offenses and 33 percent of those incarcerated in state facilities for drug offenses.

‘Justice for ALL’ means everyone deserves justice, not just based on race. My people’s voices have been crying out from the dead for years just like the children that were recently killed in Parkland. We all bleed the same blood and have the same voices at the end of the day, no matter who pulls the trigger. Inequality still exists, discrimination thrives our justice system and racism is alive and well. EVERYONE’s voices should be heard, no matter the skin color.

Joshua M. Hicks is a Chicago-based sports writer and broadcaster, follow him on Twitter @jhicks042; Follow We Are Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and on Facebook under We Are Regal Radio

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