Revisting Black Lives Matter

Talayla Banks, Feature Writer

Cory Shin

Black Lives Matter is a political and social movement supporting non-violent protests against incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against African Americans. The movement emphasizes human rights and racial equality for blacks and campaigns against different forms of racism. It’s a statement of fact and isn’t new, however with the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others, the movement sparked protests all over the nation. But what does BLM truly stand for? Many students went to protests all over the county, including Miranda Gomez, 11, Lila Lunsford, 12, and Stanley Taylor, 11. 

“We made signs and followed black speakers. I felt like we needed to channel Black voices,” Gomez said. She and her family went to the protest by the Hamilton Mill Publix in June to use their voices to spark a change in the world. “One of the main reasons I went was because the more voices that were there, the bigger impact it would have on everyone around us. It also felt like I was doing part of what I could to make sure people were recognizing the importance of BLM,” she continued. 

One of the goals of BLM is to raise awareness of racism around us, something that happens to Blacks everyday all around the world. The protests were used to object against police brutality and racism in everyday non-violently, but unfortunately it wasn’t 100% peaceful. “An old man attacked the protesters with a cane. I just watched him honestly,” Lunsford said. “The police were very sweet. It made the citizens and police respect each other more,” she added. The speakers attending the protests tried to calm everyone down, careful not to stir anything up. “One guy drove by with a giant Trump flag. Someone tried to grab the flag…we didn’t want anything to stir up so we didn’t have to disperse,” Gomez explained. “We tried to get further in the road,” Taylor said. In the end, the protests continued until it was time to leave without any major complications. 

There was a lot of controversy around the statement “Black Lives Matter,” some coming back with the statement “All Lives Matter” (ALM). Many students had a lot to say when it came to that, explaining what they believed to be a fact. “BLM is a movement for people like me to stop being killed by people who are supposed to protect us and for everyone to see us the way we’re supposed to be seen. It doesn’t stand for violence nor is it trying to bring anyone else down. We are just trying to open people’s eyes,” Taylor commented. Students of all races commented about ALM and it’s controversial meaning. “I know there’s a lot of people that like to argue ‘All Lives Matter,’ which of course is obvious, but black lives are overlooked. I think people are aware there is injustice towards Blacks but they don’t want to stir anything up,” Gomez stated. “It doesn’t mean any other lives are more or less valuable, just that Black lives need to be able to get the equality everyone else has.”

While these have been happening since the beginning of the summer, people have continued to use their voice to spark change in society. “I just want the race war to end,” Lunsford said. Many students who have been affected or have seen someone being affected by racism have emphasized that there is no reason for the race war to go on, wishing we could all live together in peace as people. “I hope to see an end of ignorance. The only place racism stems from is learned behaviors and a lack of education, yet so many people make the choice to not educate themselves,” Gomez explained. “If the color of someone’s skin is an issue to you then you are truly just uneducated, but there also isn’t any shame in that anymore. People grow into hatred for others then pass it on. I hope for more education concerning racial struggles and the fight for racial equality in schools, because without it kids will learn from their parents who may have ignorant views. We can’t always teach empathy or explain to others why they should simply care for the lives of other people, but little by little passing it on could heal the hatred so many grow up knowing,” she continued. 

While many students attended the protests in person, some chose to stay home and support from the outside, like Keshaun Weaver, 11. “BLM is a stand for empowerment, confidence and black excellence. The reason I say that is because it’s a huge organization for African Americans and other people of different races joining together to fight for change and peace for our country. It inspires me because we all want peace and happiness,” he said. “I hope to see peace in the future, not just for African Americans but for America in general because we are a whole. I know none of us are perfect, we all make mistakes, but I just hope we can get to that goal we’re reaching for: diversity and love for all, including Blacks and LGBTQ+ members. We are all human. It’s unfair and it’s not right to judge someone. I hope for positivity in our future,” he continued. 

The future of our nation is undeterminable, but we can all use our voices as our weapons against racism, police brutality and discrimination against all Blacks citizens.