Eight minutes and forty-six seconds. That is how long a uniformed police officer pressed his knee on George Floyd’s neck before choking him to death in broad daylight in Minneapolis. George was an unarmed black man who was handcuffed and kept pleading, saying, “I can’t breathe”. Sadly the officer in question showed neither remorse nor reconsideration even as onlookers urged him to stop the brutality which was captured on camera.
George wasn’t the only black person to be a victim of systemic racism and police brutality in the US in recent times. In February, 25-year old Ahmaud Arbery was fatally shot by armed white residents while jogging around his neighborhood in South Georgia. Local law enforcement and prosecutors delayed the proceedings and months passed before any arrests were made. In March this year, another black woman Breonna Taylor was shot while sleeping in her house during a botched police raid in Louisville, Kentucky. Breonna would have turned 27 on June 5th, 2020.
Though circumstances around these deaths varied, the common thread was that no arrests were made against their killers until the inaction forced overwhelming outside intervention. If we come to think of it, these are the deaths that have received some media coverage; but there are many such stories which missed the headlines in recent years, stories that were brushed under the rug and eventually forgotten. Hence the mass outrage all over the world is not just for one George Floyd, but countless other people of color who did not receive justice.
Statistically, black men in the US receive much longer sentences for the same crimes 1 committed. An unarmed black individual in the USA is 3.5 times more susceptible to be shot by the cops than an unarmed white person2. Moreover, using a resume with a white sounding name increases the chances of procuring an interview by a whopping 2.5x3.
Stats like these persist even at the silicon valley, where among the founders of venture-backed companies, only a meagre 1% are black4. Engineering teams at major tech giants like Google and Facebook too reflect the same percentage, i.e., 1% black5.
Though several investors and hiring managers argue that there’s a pipeline problem, a deeper look down the pipeline highlights the exact issues that have now been brought to the front.
The world watched another glaring example of such partiality last week amidst the protests in Louisiana. As the police came down heavily on protestors, the protestors called in for ‘the white shield’, which was essentially a group of white protestors who guarded the black protestors from the brutality of law enforcers. The behavior of police saw a drastic change of the emergence of ‘the white shield’ and they could be seen visibly toning down.
Cyboticx’s core mission is to democratize the access to talent for startups through inclusion and equality. We stand with the victims of police brutality, marginalization, and systemic racism and sincerely believe that ‘Black Lives Matter’.
If you’d like to learn more or contribute towards this cause, we’ve provided a list of resources below:
Apps empowering the protests
Although several popular apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have distanced themselves from helping spread the message of racial injustice, the protests themselves have made a profound impact on the app stores.
Protestors have also started using a messaging app called Signal, which is very much like Whatsapp, but with better security and encryption. The app ensures that messages, data and contacts of its users aren’t leaked even if a phone is compromised. However, the best part about Signal is that it is open-source, which ensures that government agencies can’t tamper with it. The app recently launched a face-blurring feature that adds an additional layer of anonymity to pictures shared through it.
The downloads for Police scanner apps are at an all-time high now. The most popular of them is the ‘5-0 Radio Police Scanner’ app, which provides a live audio feed of police radio channels. The app was created by a developer who is also donating the proceeds to social action charities.
Malcom X famously said, “Power never takes a back step.. only in the face of more power.” Let us come together and pledge to make tomorrow better. We have been silent far too long!
Pledge your allegiance:
- Be an ally. Follow our Guide To Allyship.
- Learn about the cause. We’d recommend the books So You Want To Talk About Race and How To Be Antiracist