In the wake of the brutal murder of unarmed Black father George Floyd at the hands of armed white police officers this week, the country is reeling. Floyd’s family, as well as all of us who support equality and the #BlackLivesMatter movement, are demanding answers and long-overdue policy changes, as well as arrests. Even individuals in law enforcement, such as Detroit Police Chief James Craig, are calling for the arrest, for murder, of the four officers involved in Floyd’s death — which was entirely documented on video and involved the police kneeling on Floyd’s neck while he begged for mercy.
Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd sobbed as he spoke to CNN this week: “They executed my brother in broad daylight…I am just tired of seeing Black people dying.”
“That boy didn’t need to die like that. All the footage showed the man was not resisting him,” Floyd’s friend Wallace White told USA Today. “He was a gentle giant man. He was loved by everyone around here.”
And it’s not just adults who are mourning and scared; children are, too. At just 12 years old, Keedron Bryant is already a successful Gospel singer, but he’s now going viral for a heart-wrenching video he shared on Instagram this week, in which he sings, “I just want to live.”
Bryant posted the video to his Instagram, writing that he’s “just singing what’s on my heart…hope this blesses someone.”
“I’m a young Black man doing all that I can to stand,” Bryant sings in the video (if you haven’t heard this kid sing yet — or honestly, even if you have — get ready for tears). “Oh but when I look around and I see what’s being done to my kind,” his song continues, becoming a dirge as well as a protest song. “Every day, I’m being hunted as prey. My people don’t want no trouble, we’ve had enough struggle. I just want to live. God, protect me. I just want to live. I just want to live.”
His remarkable voice hits a powerful message home: Kids like Bryant are living in fear of their lives being tragically cut short due to the ongoing, senseless and unconscionable violence perpetuated against Black folks in America. And no child — no human — should be condemned to a life of fear because those in power consistently choose to abuse it.
Here are some tips for teaching white kids how to be allies in the #BlackLivesMatter movement — as well as some diverse children’s books starring kids of color that show kids what America really looks like.