Demand change


Black Lives Matter protests have been organized in all 50 states and across the world.

Camille Botello, News Editor

With another day comes another devastating reminder of the unadulterated racism sewn into the fabric of this country, as many people protest the death of (yet another) unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands of Minneapolis police at the end of May. 

Demonstrators around the globe have yielded signs with some of Floyd’s last words— “I can’t breathe!”— and names of other black lives taken by unnecessary excessive police force. Some extremists have set their downtowns ablaze, which has attracted criticism from many, including President Trump.

We shouldn’t see our cities burn. We shouldn’t see a military presence in the streets that is reminiscent of times of war. 

But this is war. 

It’s a civil war against the 400-plus years of oppression and systematic dehumanization in the United States. And it’s a revolution against just one of the systems that has perpetuated this national shame for so long: a shame that so painfully still manifests itself in the criminal justice system, as well as the educational and healthcare structures.     

And although riots, looting, flames and violence (some of which have been started by extremists and white people) diminish some of the strength behind these protests, the real unrest is the presence of Americans who still subscribe to the white supremacist agenda. It is unnerving to live amongst a certain group of people who not only don’t support and uplift black voices, but actively try to suppress them in an effort to maintain their privilege and power. 

Many opponents of racial injustice have tried to remain tranquil. If one is so foolish to believe that black activists haven’t scheduled numerous appointments with their elected officials to calmly discuss race relations, then I’d say that sentiment is deplorable. But there comes a time when a calm demeanor cannot outweigh generational trauma and prevent people from reacting to their collective grief and terror.   

As a young white woman, I will never understand the horror many black people feel during a routine encounter with the police. When I was a child my parents never told me the color of my skin could be the difference between my life and my death at a traffic stop. I cannot begin to comprehend the ways in which so many Americans are burdened by this inequality every waking moment of their lives. 

But what we as non-black people must do is listen to our black friends and family members. We can empathize, organize, demonstrate, and donate. And we can support each and every person in this country who is still marginalized in a society originally contrived by white men for white men.

We will become the change we desire to instill by shouting that black lives do matter. We become allies by defending the black experience and demanding change in the systems that threaten it.