Across the country since May of 2020, Black Lives Matter has recaptured everyone’s attention. For centuries, the discrimination, the prejudice, the hate crimes and the hatred being shined upon African Americans in the United States has reached a boiling point. When George Floyd was murdered at the hand of three police officers, most Americans woke up to the realization that African American citizens are still being oppressed in the 21st century.
Some Blackburn students are passionate about the Black Lives Matter movement and have been involved in some of the protests. Sophomore criminal justice major Izzy Erickson walked in a protest in Naperville, Ill. this past June in support of the movement. Erickson said, “As a person of color, I thought it was amazing how people of all races came to the BLM protest.” People of all races did come together to stand up for what they believe in during the protests. Erickson also said, “I think it’s important for my generation to be the change and make an impact on the justice system.” Today, the youth across America are coming together to end police brutality towards people of color.
Freshman journalism major Rylee McClain lives in the city of Chicago and got to see the protests through a different lens. These past few months, Chicago has been in the news because of the Black Lives Matter movement. McClain said, “I am from one of the many places in the country that hugely participated in the protests, riots and looting. I feel that peaceful protests are one way to get the point across, however everything in life needs multiple angles.” McClain didn’t walk in the protests because of how dangerous the Chicago protests were. Instead, she watched from a view and still supported the movement via social media. McClain addressed, “Many things that other races do are quickly overlooked until black people do it, then it’s a huge issue. When black people protest, it turns into this horrible, un-American thing, but when white people protest they’re being patriotic. Although I do not necessarily agree with looting, I feel that this is the bare minimum that black people could have done. There is more that could’ve been done in retribution from black people but that wasn’t done.”
I personally have walked in BLM protests, and they do get dangerous. They don’t get dangerous because of the protesters, they get dangerous because the counterpart of the argument tends to shed hatred on those who walk in them. The counterpart of the argument tends to be people who think that BLM is racist, not supporting the country, saying that no one matters except for people of color and are over exaggerating. When I protested in May, I was almost run over by a KKK member on a motorcycle. We knew it was a KKK member because the white man was wearing KKK apparel with confederate flags hanging off of his motorcycle while he drove through the protest. He thought it was best to drive through a peaceful march and try to run over as many people as possible. The police officers that were monitoring the protest just stood there and didn’t help anyone that was injured by the man driving through the protest. Civilians had to call 9-1-1 because the police didn’t want to intervene. Later that night after the protest, the Target in Bloomington, Ill. was looted. I believe if the march remained peaceful, Target would not have been looted. It was looted due to the police officers not reacting to the people who were injured on the ground nor preventing the attack of the KKK member.
After everything that is and was happening in America that deals with Black Lives Matter, I feel that Americans are starting to become more educated on the matter. Even though this has been happening for centuries, people are starting to realize that this is a real issue. You see in the news periodically that African Americans are being shot, targeted and racially profiled. This isn’t the end, but this is the boiling point to reaching racial equality in America. Today’s youth are starting to speak up on racial injustices and work towards making future generations of American American children grow up in a world where they don’t have to be afraid of who they are based on their pigmentation.