The emotional letter forced people to take another look at police brutality.
You remember Drake, right?
He's a likable, handsome, jovial guy who could probably charm a fish out of water if he wanted to.
When you see Drake in the news, he's usually smiling — but he wasn't last night. After watching two black men get shot to death by police on camera within 48 hours, he penned an emotional note on Instagram about police brutality and how badly we need to change the system.
Drake’s words were directed at the brutal murder of Alton Sterling, a father of five from Baton Rouge, Louisiana:
But he also couldn't believe that barely a day after Sterling's murder, Philando Castile's unnecessary killing began circulating on Facebook Live, too.
Drake's words remind us that while black people have a traditionally strained relationship with the police, brutality is a problem for many other minority groups as well.
Jessica Hernandez, Ryan Ronquillo, Reuben Garcia Villalpando, and Hector Morejon are all people of color who have fallen victim to police brutality, exposing the fact that the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color desperately need help.
And the fact that many minority parents are forced to have "The Talk" with their kids as early as childhood — a conversation about how to interact with people (especially the police) in ways that will help them avoid death or extreme punishment — also shows how far we have yet to go.
Drake’s words won’t solve things, but they further highlight an important fact:
Police brutality is a real problem that will not be fixed unless more people call out the systematic issues.
And unfortunately, there is still a large gap between white communities and minority communities and how the importance of these events might be perceived. A study by Pew Research Center found that 48% of whites believe progress has been made since 1963 on race relations, compared with 32% of blacks. And after the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, 80% of blacks believed the incident brought up important issues about race while only 37% of whites believed the same.
Progress is often slow around issues like this, but when it comes to human lives, slow progress is not an option.
And it is only by talking about this more often that we can move forward.
As Drake aptly said: "No one begins their life as a hashtag. Yet the trend of being reduced to one continues."