Photo credit: Steven John Irby
During this time ASTRO is using our @ASTROGaming and @thecollective Twitter channels to share and amplify the voices of Black and African American ASTRO staff, A*Star Collective and extended ASTRO Family members. Here are their thoughts on and experiences with racism and injustice in America.
- Action Jaxon
- Big Cheese
- Doug Fleming
- James Singletary
- J.D. Witherspoon
- Kahlief Adams
- Malik Forté
For me, gaming and streaming means an opportunity to reach out to people I would never otherwise meet. It means developing a relationship with my viewers and showing them love, kindness and silliness. Gaming is my passion and streaming is what I’m called to.@actionjaxon | twitch.tv/actionjaxon
As far as my views on the current state of what’s going on in America, I’m deeply hurt. I feel for the suffering of my fellow black Americans and drastic change is needed within our law enforcement system, as well as our justice system. This America has not been constructed to the benefit of all of its citizens and that is unacceptable. Change is uncomfortable, growth is uncomfortable, expect seeing these protests to be uncomfortable. As they should be.”
Gaming and Streaming is my Therapy. It’s my place of peace. With everything that’s going on in the world, people need a place to find some sort of happiness. That’s where I come in. To bring some light in the midst of darkness.@BigCheeseKIT | twitch.tv/bigcheesekit
We live in the Divided States of America. If we cannot be peaceful with each other in our own country, we will never be united. We live in a country that’s built by the hands of black people yet we’re the most disrespected. When you’re silent and value material items over black lives, you’re clearly displaying where you stand with us. It’s wrong and it hurts.
My views on what is happening is the seeds of a revolution. The events that sparked these movements will bring about a change that is long over due. The fact of feeling lost, scared, like you do not belong when you walk in public have always been deep and embedded on our skin.@Djtechlive | twitch.tv/djtechlive
So many of us have been enduring these constant acts of discrimination for so long as our ancestors have. People shouting “racism is at its worse,” but I would like to remind you that racism never changed, its just being caught on camera, and now played in front of everyone to see.
Law and Order has never been fair for us, being looked down upon as a second rate human if that at all, has never been right for us, freedom is and feels as if its just a word. Though we may not have shackles and chains on physically, mentally we are caged.
Change? Start with the enforcers of the law with reform, training, evaluations along with conduct reporting. Spreading the word on the black communities. Looking past the superficial and honing in on the reality. Stop with the double standards, realizing that it is NEVER to late to change your mindset, be open to learn more. Take time to ask what you do not understand.
This is such a small list of things to start with and its definitely not all the answers but it is indeed a start. And that start, starts with you.
Lives being lost through racism has gone on for too long. What happened to George Floyd, Breonna taylor, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin – just to name a few – is infuriating. We shouldn’t have to be in fear to live life because of the color of our skin.@Bucknesss | Doug Fleming
When we were speaking change they didn’t hear us and now we are screaming change and we got their attention. There has to be understanding that black lives matter just as much as everyone else’s.
There has to be a shift in mentality: that we are to be treated the same. Because right now we are not.
A lot needs to change in America and I think a good place to start is with police reform. Better response training, extensive vetting and mandatory therapy is a MUST. The unfortunate reality is racism is something that’s taught and some have it ingrained in their minds, it’s not something that we can fix overnight. Exercising your right to vote and being cognizant of who you do business with are other ways you can help (shop black owned/boycott where necessary).@gothixTV | twitch.tv/gothix
Of course, there is always more to do, I may not have all the answers however, right now I’m seeing many people within the black community who are divided on the best course of action. Some are in favor of riots and violence, while others are not. This is creating more internal conflict and distracting us from the problem at hand. I think if we learned to have an open discussion rather than immediately discrediting one another based on our experiences and perspectives, we can come together with a solid plan.”
CHARACTER IS YOUR CURRENCY!@HipHopGamer | Gerard Williams
This is very important and I thank the ASTRO Gaming team for reaching out with a willingness to understand and utilize their platform to bring our voices and likeness to the forefront.
This is a key moment here, meaning DON’T LET THIS BE SOMETHING THAT’S ONLY SUPPORTED VIA A TREND, #BlackLivesMatter Is A Message not to BENEFIT FROM FOR PERSONAL GAIN OR BUSINESS GOALS, this is a statement of HUMAN LIFE and the lack of LOVE & EQUALITY we don’t receive here in AMERICA.
This can all stop and change right now and we all know how so let’s do so together accordingly. LOVE YOU ALL AND GOD BLESS YOU ALL. If you want to see change, then be the change you want to see.
My views haven’t changed since I was a child. I grew up watching senseless violence around me and nothing has changed in the 30 years I’ve been on this earth…@ipodkingcarter | youtube.com/ipodkingcarter
Even though it may not hit your doorstep, never assume that it can’t. We have to all realize that any death of another human being under any circumstance is wrong…
A message to the cops out there: remember you have much more power than you think. Please don’t abuse that power through negligent actions which could result in the deaths of other human beings, whether in or out of uniform.
I grew up with friends from many walks of life, of every ethnicity, in a city that for the most part was a cut above the rest in terms of racism and tolerance.@ScourgeSF | ASTRO Customer Relations Technician
However, there were moments in my life where it was so evident that I was being treated differently or unjust. It mostly happened in my later teen years into my young adult life. Or rather I never noticed it till then.
Traveling to parts of the country where people are brazened enough to say things out loud instead of keeping it in their mind. Being passed over for a job promotion by a co-worker, only to have them become my manager and make every single day a living hell for me. Putting forth ideas from the kindness of your heart and for the thing you love, only to get zero recognition for the work. When you must work twice as hard to get approval from others, something is wrong.
When you must watch what you say because you do not want a certain label that comes with being “Black”, something is wrong.
When you must change your travel plans because you know certain places look down on you due to you being Black, something is wrong.
When Being Black in America is being afraid to go visit your friends in certain neighborhoods because you don’t want the cops called on you, something is wrong.
I am fortunate enough to work at ASTRO Gaming where the Customer Relations Team treats one another with respect. Where the manager and director care what their team says and how they feel about the job.
When I started, I met someone who I now consider one of my closest friends. He has never judged me based on my skin. I never felt like I must be someone I am not when we talk and that is so rare nowadays in the workplace. You can believe that I truly enjoy working at ASTRO Gaming and all my family/friends know this.
Even when things are stressful as they are now, we are always encouraged. I am even given a platform to make my story heard which is rare for a company. Many are not that lucky.
Be kind to everyone. Treat everyone fairly and never prejudge someone over the color of their skin.
I would just say to treat everyone equally and collaborate with your brothers and sisters of different backgrounds and ethnicity’s more. If people want real change they need to start within their own lives.@jdwitherspoon | twitch.tv/runJDrun
Introduce yourself to new groups of people, make new friends, support people who don’t always look exactly like you. We all live here together on this planet so we need to be willing to share it & the love we have equally with each other.
Right now it feels like we’re on the precipice of some fundamental change in this country from a grass roots perspective. We continue to see Black folks treated in the same ways we’ve always been historically.@Kahjahkins | Kahlief Adams
With that treatment, and every new incident of state/federally sanctioned violence we see our community pushed to the breaking point while looking for justice from a system built to discriminate and dehumanize us.
Racism has always been the greatest lie ever told. One that puts the onus on the oppressed to do the heavy lifting while the oppressor class has continued to be in power. The only way we get out of this cycle of racism and white supremacy is breaking down those institutions through protest, civil disobedience and sometimes destruction of the physical properties that uphold and symbolize those racist institutions.
Alongside that, we need to hold those accountable who benefit from these structures to not only say meaningful words of acknowledgment, but to do the work of teaching their children how valuable Black life is in this country. Until then, we will continue to see inequity, distrust and racial animosity rip this country and planet apart.
Do the work, tell a friend, educate your circles, rinse & repeat.”
We’ve allowed systemic racism to thrive for so long that it almost feels insulting that it’s taken this long for so many people to understand. I guess that’s the one positive of social media, because now everyone gets to experience the trauma that has plagued our neighborhoods for so many decades.@Malik4Play | Malik Forté
With that collective trauma has come compassion and a push for change. We need to really do our homework in every police district when local election times roll around and make sure we elect progressive mayors who will appoint police chiefs with the sole mission of rinsing the corruption out of America’s police forces.
Also, all citizens should have more control over where our tax dollars go. A plethora of us would prefer our tax dollars go to things like education, medicine, and community development as opposed to arming the police with military grade weapons. If there were some way to give the people options, even if it means additional issues on the ballot, we need to have the option to take our tax dollars away from the police and put them elsewhere.
This is a loaded question and a multi-layered one, but I feel in regards to police brutality – a pillar in the foundation of systemic racism – these are a couple of solutions that I would like to strive for.
At the root, I feel the world is suffering from an intense lack of empathy. It sounds so simple to think about how a word you say or an action you take can affect someone else, but in the heat of the moment it’s hard to put into practice.@MegaRan | twitch.tv/mega_ran
I think with empathy though comes action and being vocal is where it starts. We, the people who know better, need to speak up in spaces and moment that we don’t feel comfortable, to let people know where we stand. We call them “teachable moments” in the education world; you can’t let them pass.
Gone are the days of laughing off uncomfortable conversations with friends, co-workers and associates. There’s no time. We need to use every opportunity we get to inform, enlighten and empathize. It’s the only way to begin healing.
This is the time where we as communities can come together to create long lasting change. Equality is a fight we all have taken our respective swings at. We can win that fight by working together to provide opportunities, highlighting amazing human beings for their work ethic and contributions, as well as creating internal programs that promote diversity; these are the stepping stones to promote radical, positive change.@MunchkinDoom | mixer.com/MunchkinDoom
In the coming days, the way others move will show and prove who really understands the importance of their voice and their active power to do something, compared to those who made social postings as a response to a ‘trend.’
My skin tone and suffering are NOT a trend; I want the world to finally acknowledge that.
We need to change. We are not united. The morality of our society needs drastic improvement and the death of George Floyd is a reminder that this century old issue is still extremely prevalent among our nation. How many young men of color need to die before America solves this problem? One death is already too many.@NAMELESS | twitch.tv/nameless
In a time like this it would be easy to give up hope. I see people in the streets and I see it as a call for help. The riots are what we get when America doesn’t answer that call. I am angry, sad but I’m still hopeful. Hopeful that George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, or anyone who has been wrongfully killed at the hands of police brutality, finds justice. It’s up to everyone to continue to fight this fight and end the systemic racism that is still rampant throughout America.
As a mixed male with lighter skin even I can understand the privilege I own. I implore you to recognize your own privileges as well. We are all made equal but not treated equal. That’s a problem.
If you have influence use it. I’ll try my best to do better and you should too. We’re all we got.
Currently America is broken, the racial and economic class divide has never been higher and as a black man, Police brutality is my normal. I was given the “talk” at a young age on how to handle myself if confronted by the Police to avoid:@vicious696 | Parris
a) Being beaten up
b) Thrown in jail
So for black people in America to see a Police Officer murder George Floyd with zero compassion for his life is not shocking, the only difference is the fact that we now have video cameras and are able to show these crimes to the world when before they were covered up and the only people to care were the victims family.
The way to truly make change is to put the right people in positions of leadership.
For my generation it may be too late but the next generation (our children) are watching and learning, we must show them that by voting and peacefully demanding change, they can make change happen when they are put into positions of leadership.
We must break the centuries long cycle of racism and violence that plagued my grandparents, my parents and now I am dealing with in 2020. I do not want my kids to suffer the same fate and the only way we do that is together
It’s interesting to sit back and watch people online discuss the State of America as it pertains to today, because as a black person (bi-racial if you want to discuss semantics) this current America is nothing different than the America in which I have lived the entirety of my life.@rukizzel | twitch.tv/rukizzel
Here is the part where I feel somewhat apathetic to what is going on today; it’s happened before, and it will happen again. “[Insert Black Person’s Name Here] Killed by the Police, Mass Protesting Ensues.” We all know the headlines. We’ve seen it over and over, yet nothing changes. On one hand I admire that I am seeing more and more people standing up for what is right. On the other, those people have been missing in action for years. I use the term action because everyone can think something is “sad,” and continue to sit idly by, or you can do something about it.
The worst part about being Black in a time like this is I fully expect nothing significant to come of the efforts of the last week. The scariest part is that I am afraid of a guilty charge for the officers who murdered George Floyd will be offered up as a pittance to the outrage in the Black Community – almost as a “there, you happy now.” I fear that in 6 months time the events that have transpired over the last few days will have dissipated into the ether.
Keep this energy going forward. Be angry. Shit needs to change.
I grew up in South Central Los Angeles. Between Century and imperial. The Sheriffs of that area had a reputation of being bad asses and they showed it every chance they got. I’ve been racially profiled, labeled a gang member, wrongfully accused and so much more by police growing up there because I am a black male.@ShadyG | ASTRO Events Coodinator + Brand Ambassador
I have a son who is non verbal autistic. He can’t speak. He only makes sounds. Sometimes he lashes out irrationally but that comes with his autism. There’s gonna be a day where he’s old enough to leave the house. If it comes to a point where he is approached by the wrong cop and he can’t comply due to his autism and lashes out in confusion and fear. What is going to happen to my son?
Change has been needed for a very long time now. This is the generation that can make it happen. I love that everyone’s eyes are open right now pushing the #BlackLivesMatter movement. I just hope it’s not temporary.
If anyone tells you, they don’t know why black people are upset, tired, angry and just over it… They are the problem.@stevesweatpants | streetdreams.co
You can log on any gaming chat right now, and probably have some racist comments hurled your way from a kid that doesn’t even pay rent yet.
Our country hasn’t addressed it properly for centuries, and now we’re just over it. So now more then ever, it’s not about democrats or republicans. Xbox or PlayStation. It’s literally about being a decent human being, so we can all live on this earth and enjoy it while we can.
My view on America is that people are finally seeing the broken system for what it is. Instead of going “This isn’t my country!” More folks are realizing this is by design and we need to break the system and reform it into an actually equitable shape. This won’t happen any time soon, but I feel people aren’t going to sit and wait for change. They aren’t going to be complacent, and turn aside from the brutality and hate that has informed this country’s formative years.@cypheroftyr | twitch.tv/cypheroftyr
What’s needed for change is a whole lot. Systemic racism needs to be pulled from the fabric of our country. There needs to be a realization that much of America’s history is bathed in the blood of slaves, driven on by the ghostly whips of masters past. People need to realize that Black Lives Matter isn’t just a moment, but a movement; that it doesn’t mean black lives matter more than others.
What needs to happen is that people need to learn that any criticism of the system does not equal calling white folks racist, or that Black and POC are suddenly taking over.
We need education on race, racism and all the history denied to us on the contributions of Black people to our history, and the realization we aren’t going anywhere. Time to work together, or be left behind.
America is currently stuck at a point where it can become a better nation or the worst nation for Black People.@TrippyDL | twitch.tv/Trippy
As a soon-to-be father I have true fear in my heart about the current issues we are facing. I shouldn’t be scared to go out to the store but I am. I shouldn’t feel the level of fear that I do when I see a police officer but it happens. The level of neglect by our leadership is appalling and shows how little progression has been made over the last 60+ years. We need leadership that will drive change and punish those that attempt to set us back. I should never be scared to go out in fear that I may not return to my family.
The land of the free and the home of the brave should be the safest and most welcoming place on this planet. Right now it isn’t and hopefully that changes.
Protect and serve. We all know what it means and to some it’s just a phrase etched on the side of a patrol car. Protecting citizens and serving the public is far from what’s going on right now.@Tygastripe | twitch.tv/Tygastripe
A life, multiple lives, shouldn’t be sacrificed to help recognize what a race of people have been subjected to. George Floyd’s death at the hands of law enforcement should’ve never happened.
The Black unity that has been sparked in America is beautiful. The growing allyship is beautiful. However, Black lives should have always mattered. What we need is the world to understand our lives have to continue to matter after that initial flame has gone out. We’re tired of adding another hashtag to the list. Why does wanting equality in 2020 feel like a radical concept to some. In 2020?!
We need a better way to qualify police officers to serve and protect citizens.
We need people to understand while all lives matter, black lives are the ones at risk.
We need people to recognize that racism is not always overt, privilege exists, and it’s just as harmful.
We need to scrap hope of things changing and make the change we want the next generation to live in.
Right now, in the US and all other countries #BlackLivesMatter
For me, gaming and streaming has been a way for me to escape reality. I have met so many people through streaming and created some amazing relationships that I would never otherwise have had. It means creating a place where people can just relax and have a good time. Streaming and gaming are my passion and I’m just glad to be able to share that with people.@devantekyle | twitch.tv/Wizz
For my views on the current state that we are in as a country, I feel for the suffering of my fellow black Americans. Change is needed immensely within our judicial and law enforcement system. This country that we live in, that we are supposed to love to be a part of, has been constructed in a way where it does not benefit everyone equally. Seeing these protests are very uncomfortable. I tend to stay away from certain topics but I need to start speaking up. If people stop supporting me because of my stance on the situation, then they are part of the problem, simple as that.