It seems as if over the past few months there has been a shift in the world. A shift that has been long overdue and one that will continue to emanate worldwide. You may think I am referencing the violence, the discrimination, and the chaos going on. I’m glad to say that this is not the case. On the contrary, now more than ever, voices from people who have been in the dark for so many years are finally speaking up. Movements are being sparked from around the world and enemies are holding hands, forming fists to fight the systemic injustice still lingering. Through this violence, discrimination, and chaos, hope, leadership and unity among the public is at the forefront of our nation. Many however, are at a loss of what they can do individually to contribute and join the bandwagon of standing up against this systemic racism. I am here to not only lend some insight on what you can do but who you can strive to be amidst this period of unrest.
What is the problem?
Embedded in the soil of our nation is racism, slavery, and persecution towards others based on the color of their skin. Encompassed in our nation also lies closed-minded, unwavering people. These two sentences work hand in hand. While I will never be able to understand the mind of a discriminatory person, I believe that, for a reason that is unclear to me, these narrow minded citizens don’t want to stray too far from the past. Their egos make them afraid that will be forgotten, unappreciated, or outsmarted by those that don’t look like them. People have become so comfortable with this normalcy of racism that they refuse to even bother evolving from this norm. The other problem is that the people that are supposed to be making us feel safe are the cause of terror and political leaders that are supposed to be representing our country are instigating hate and foul treatment. How can we expect equality and tolerance in our world if those leading it are condoning this? On a separate note, we have seen centuries pass, where people are silenced. I say this because as teenagers, we often feel limited, underestimated, and even a little self-doubting due to our age and the criticism of others. With the current events that have struck not only our country but the vast world, it is important that we recognize how critical our voice is and defend ourselves from being silenced. With the pressuring current events that are weighing heavily on our country, these problems mentioned above are being stirred up. This is not the first time that these issues specifically regarding inequality have been relevant. Rather, these embarrassing, shameful stories of inhuman behavior become muted by other breaking news. When will it be time where each and every single one of these cruel, discontending stories are not looked over but rather, seen as critically impactful. The problem is, we appear to be in a never ending cycle where this unnecessary biased treatment from the police is tolerated.
Why is this relevant?
Aside from the inescapable headliners and breaking news, these prominent issues mentioned previously are screaming out for us teengers to help and we are more necessary than any other age. We are fortunate enough to have access to education and our bravery will evoke more progress than the brutality. To not take advantage of this would be a crime. It is demanded at the current stage of our nation that we maximize these resources and enlighten ourselves and others on the issues at bay. It is important that we recognize that we must rely on the information that WE have uncovered and face the fact that we simply can not let our generation be in the hands of weak leaders. We must not only look forward to how we can advance our world into becoming unprejudiced but glance backward to reflect on the revolutionary leaders that proved that change is possible and who can serve as inspiration for us. If we do not educate ourselves then history will be forgotten and therefore repeated. To have those who come after us face the pain of discrimination that our planet is suffering through now is just not an option; it would be immoral and unjust. Should we disregard the events straining our nation at the moment and become blind to the fact that we are vital in this operation of equality, then generations after us will be left in the dark- ignorant and uninspired. In addition, we must prove to everyone who pities our generation that they are wrong. Pitied because we are witnessing oppression and downright unfairness at the root of our government. Pitied because we seem to be reliving history, where people are judged based on the color of their skin. We must prove that this pity is uncalled for. Instead, we have the PRIVILEGE of living in the time of 2020, where change will come. Not long ago these issues were avoided, brushed aside, and feared. Now, we have leaders taking on these feared subjects with courage and strength and hope. Young leaders more specifically, taking on these feared subjects with courage and strength and hope. This is why these matters are relevant to students. Because WE are these young leaders. Mandatory changes stem from us.
What can we do to be heard?
What could have led to a mass divide has in fact gathered a moving amount of people. The range of communities that are now collaborating to fight this injustice together comments of the enduring support embedded throughout our nation’s veins. I believe that the best thing we as a people can do to be heard is to be united. The fact of the matter is that nothing will be accomplished if we are at odds among our own people. Hate and opposition will lead us down the wrong path and portray us in the wrong light. Rather we must share the love. There is so much pain resonating with our world right now and to lose touch of the respect and togetherness would be missing the whole point of a cry for change. We are stronger together and the years of growth before us have demonstrated this. Hand in hand with unity is the absolute need for empathy. We must demand change by showing our humanity and compassion, by showing that we are there for one another and even if we have never been in the position of losing a son or a daughter at the hands of a police officer, we still stand as one. Equally important is the effort to lead by example, to be the bigger person. If we lead with violence and are divided, how do we look representing a cause focused on peace and equality? Furthermore, the moment we lose hope is the moment that change will become impossible. Understand that it is NEVER too late to get involved but become involved in what you and you alone are passionate about. Turn to leaders of the cause that inspire you. Talking is one of the best things you can do. Discuss these issues with your friends, family, peers. Don’t shy away from having uncomfortable conversations because that just means the conversation is raw and honest. Stress the value of their decision to those eligible to vote. Take advantage of the resources you have- social media, the news, books. Look up petitions. Write if you are a great writer. Take pictures of signs during protests if you are a great photographer. Don’t let this movement fade into history because discrimination and sheer racism is going on now. We can no longer be silent and it is OUR job to talk.
Listed below are a few ideas to help you educate yourself and get involved in the Black Lives Matter Movement
The TV shows/ movies from Netflix’s Black Lives Matter collection
http://blackyouthproject.com/7-celebrities-who-fearlessly-support-for-black-lives-matter/ -Inspiring people that can encourage you to speak uphttps://www.biography.com/people/groups/civil-rights-activists– -Inspiring people that can encourage you to speak up