Yesterday, July 7, 2016, many people against the injustice of police brutality channeled their restlessness by participating in nonviolent protests across the country.
During a protest, which started as a nonviolent protest, in Dallas, TX, there were reports of two or more unidentified snippers who shot 12 police officers of which five were killed and six were injured, as well as two civilians who were also injured. The entire city, and eventually the country, was in an uproar as they watched the shooting, which resembled a civil war, unfold.
Frantic for answers, the Dallas Police Department released a photo via Twitter of a "suspect" to the media and, without concrete evidence or information, the media had Mark Hughes' picture circulating the internet and television.
Needless to say, Mark Hughes, a protester who was exercising his right to bear arms, was incorrectly identified as the Dallas shooting suspect. Once he was cleared without charges, with the tweet from the Dallas PD still posted hours later, Hughes' brother, Cory, and friends told CBS Dallas that as soon as they heard gun shots, Hughes immediately turned over his fire arm to the nearest police officer. He, as well as Cory, have received death threats since the photo of him with an unloaded gun was released and have yet to receive a public apology from Dallas PD or any news outlet.
"We received a phone call that my face was on there as a suspect and I immediately flagged down a police officer," Hughes told CBS Dallas. He went on explaining how much of a shock it was because he was "laughing and joking with officers" earlier that day.
Since then, according to Complex News, the police have identified the gunman responsible for the shooting as Micah Xavier Johnson, a 25-year-old ex military. They have also reported that Johnson acted alone.
These past 72 hours have been restless for me and probably for many others, who have tuned in to these murders through social media or the news. It is disheartening and can make people feel hopeless and helpless during this dark week in history, but it can also be seen as a beginning of a solution.
If people come together, despite their cultural and racial differences, as one human race, these problems can and will be resolved peacefully.
Here are 7 nonviolent ways to call for action when you are feeling helpless:
1. Stay truthfully informed.
Follow these stories and use every media outlet you can. Read up on these crimes and pay attention to how they are being reported.
You don't necessarily have to watch the news to see what's going on in the world these day. Social media keeps people, especially millennials, in the loop every time someone posts or reposts a thread.
2. Join a diverse, nonprofit organization that is for the people.
Diverse, nonprofit organizations are a great way for you to surround yourself with like-minded people that aren't necessarily visually and culturally like you. They are focused on one goal and that is to bring people together despite their differences.
A good option that I am actively involved in is the Diversity Organization. Check them out.
3. Create a blog (says the blogger).
This can be a great way to peacefully fight for your right and the rights of others, while creating a platform for people to speak out and to publish your thoughts. It is a perfect, nonviolent way for the voice of the people to be heard.
Use your voice.
4. Participate in a nonviolent protest.
"NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE!" What an elaborating feeling you will have once you participate in a nonviolent protest.
Nonviolent protests can consist of marches or sit ins with people who have the same goal as you. You can chant your frustrations about the injustice of police brutality as loud as you want, while releasing stress at the same time.
And, if you are a public figure, use your voice because you already have the ears of the people. Use your popularity for good.
5. Sign or start a petition.
A petition is a formal written request, signed by many people, appealing to authority with respect to a particular cause. There are a lot of people who feel like they can't do anything to help a cause, but everyone can sign their name on something they believe in.
If you want to sign a petition, you can sign one for a creation of a federal law enforcement agency that supervises the behavior of all law enforcement agencies, or, if you want to do more, you can also participate in a GoFundMe such as the "#AltonSterlingFamily Scholarship," created by Actress, Writer and Producer Issa Rae.
If you feel like there isn't a petition that caters to a specific problem, create your own! You can start a petition by creating it on websites such as:
6. Be there for a friend.
Whether they have a direct connection to any of these incidents or to previous incidences of this kind, or if they are struggling with how they feel about these malicious events, everyone needs a shoulder to cry on.
Be there for your loved ones in this terrible time of need and help them channel their emotions by coming up with ideas on how to make a change, maybe even choosing some of the options listed in this article.
This entire world is hurting and needs to be filled with love and peace. Praying to God for that peace and love is the best thing anyone could ever do to help rebuild what has been torn down.
God hears and sees all things. Lift your voice to him. That is the ultimate power you have.
Don't talk about it. Be about it. Violence is clearly NOT the answer, but banding together and not allowing injustice is. Keep the families of these victims in your hearts and in your prayers as we all stand for justice to be served and change to be made.