I’ve been trying to find the words that best encapsulate the overarching feeling that is consuming the Black community right now. The truth is, I can’t speak for everyone on this matter, as we are individual beings with contrasting backgrounds and experiences. So instead, I’ve opted to describe my own feelings: I am heartbroken, infuriated and most of all, emotionally drained. Despite that, I am also hopeful.
This past Saturday in my hometown, I witnessed people of all ages, races and ethnicities gather to demonstrate in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. I’ve seen similar photos of protests in Berlin, London, Montreal and myriad cities worldwide. This global display of solidarity gives me comfort, and my only wish is that we sustain this momentum, continue to denounce racism and elevate difficult conversations and, most importantly, aim to educate those who think differently from us.
George Floyd was not the first. Before him, there was Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Emmett Till, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner… the list goes on. If you skipped any of these names last time, I urge you to go back and read them over again. Each one represents a story, a family and a future stripped away; that must not be forgotten.
It can be exhausting to repeatedly hear about such painful injustices. Education and discomfort are essential to growth, however, and with growth comes change. The knowledge and awareness that we gain from this outcome can in turn be used to inform people around us and further reform the system that currently oppresses Black individuals.
Now most of all, we must use our voices. We must strive to be proactive by voting, signing petitions, contacting representatives and donating to pro-BLM initiatives. We have a tough battle ahead of us, but I’m hopeful — for a future where Black lives are not looked upon as lesser than or unequal, and for a system that doesn’t condone the senseless killings of Black bodies. I will persevere and do all I can to make this a reality. I urge everyone who’s reading this: if you value Black people, please do the same. After all, oppression is not something that can be eliminated by the oppressed alone.
words_kelvine moyers, photo_sonia broman & kelvine moyers