It has been more than four months since the start of global protests stemming from the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black at the hands of police. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans have taken to the streets in a fashion reminiscent of the protests of 1967 and 1968. Frustrations are high. Millennials and the younger generation known as “Zoomers” are spearheading the largest movement for civil rights since the 1960s, while facing the risk of COVID-19 exposure.
But why risk it all? And why did this particular moment end up being the tipping point? The simple answer is that there is nothing to do. The pandemic has prevented any meaningful social interaction. The more complicated answer, however, is that people—especially young people—have lost hope in the broken social and political system that governs us all.
Recent events bring to mind the Long, Hot Summer of 1967—another tipping point highlighting the plight of poor Black Americans. Police brutality remains as rampant now as it was in 1967. Black people continue to grapple with high unemployment along with housing and job discrimination—like they did in 1967. The war on drugs has ravaged Black families and created a generation of men and women who may never realize their dreams due to small, non-violent convictions. Over 50 years ago, in 1967, there were protests and uprisings in 34 states during the first nine months of the year. Black Americans took to the streets in some 150 cities.
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