“Let My Building Burn” — Stop putting people over property

Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

Starting on May 26, millions took to the streets to join the nation-wide protests following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of an on-duty Minneapolis police officer. Since the start of the protests, right-wing media has been quick in their work to brand the movement as a “celebration of violence.”

While President Donald Trump has been vocal on Twitter, he’s had several tweets removed by Twitter for violating guidelines after inciting violence against protestors, whom the president has labeled as “thugs”. 

It seems as though the media has been searching for more reasons to label these protests as violent, even going as far as to use old protest footage to push the narrative to their viewers. The most repetitive argument against the marches for Black lives can be summed up into two words: “property damage.”

The destruction of insured, multi-million dollar corporations and the removal of confederate statues have taken the forefront when discussions of the Black Lives Matter movement come up, especially the claim that the destruction of these  is the destruction of “their own community.” 

It is to my understanding, that Target and Wendy’s are not integral parts of the community. It is to my understanding, that statues dedicated to slave-owners and abusers are not integral parts of the community. It is to my understanding, that the loss of property, while unfortunate, will never hold enough significance to be integral parts of the community. 

George Floyd was an integral part of the community. Justin Howell, Sean Monterrosa and Jamel Floyd, young men who lost their lives to police brutality, were integral parts of the community. Breyonna Taylor and Sandra Bland were integral parts of the community. 

No corporation can take the place of a life lost to police brutality, to center the discussion around what stores have lost merchandise and not around the Black men, women and children who were murdered by systematic oppression is a great injustice not only to their legacies but to their families and the community as well. 

Upon hearing the news that his restaurant had caught fire during a protest in Minneapolis, Ruhel Islam is quoted sayinglet my building burn, justice needs to be served, put those officers in jail.” 

Let’s move the discussion away from burnt buildings and fallen statues, and instead toward justice because Black lives are integral parts of the community.