How Many Hashtags Do We Need Until Black Lives Matter?

Want to know what's been happening with the movement, how students feel, and how you can help? Read on to find out more.

In+NYC%2C+a+Black+Lives+Matter+sign+is+posted+where+a+schedule+used+to+be.+Photo+Credit%3A+Photo+via+Getty+Images+under+the+creative+commons+license.

Photo by Laura Kalcheff

In NYC, a Black Lives Matter sign is posted where a schedule used to be. Photo Credit: Photo via Getty Images under the creative commons license.

Auslin Mills, Jodi Owusu, Jaspreet Manko, David Macaulay-Smith, Rachel Torrey, Ababa Lorde, and Ms. Prusicki

We Want Change Now

Black men and women are constantly  murdered over the color of their skin by police officers. It’s time for a change and time for justice.”

— The Torch Staff

Peaceful protests are necessary for people to express the anger and frustration they are feeling towards a corporation, organization, or government. Historically, peaceful protests have aided women and the LGBTQ community in gaining equal rights. In the 1960s in Birmingham, Alabama, peaceful protests performed by teenagers and children assisted the Civil Rights Movement to help end segregation.  

On the heels of a global pandemic, and after the tragic murder of George Floyd, many people around the nation have taken a stance against police brutality and have chosen to stand with the Black Lives Matter movement.  Many have decided it is time again to peacefully protest.

The Murder of George Floyd

On May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, an African American man named George Floyd was murdered by four police officers while being arrested on the suspicion of paying with a false $20 bill. Derek Chauvin, a police officer, had his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while two officers, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, held him down using their body weight.  The fourth officer, Tou Thao, stood by, keeping an eye on the crowd of people recording. While his neck and body were being pushed into the pavement, George was on his stomach and in handcuffs while repeatedly saying the words, “I can’t breathe”, telling the officers he was going to die, and calling out to his late mother. It took four days of nation and world-wide protest, riots, and media barrages for just one of the cops, Derek Chauvin, to be charged with third-degree murder. As of June 3, Derek Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder and the other three cops are charged with aiding and abetting murder. 

The Murder of Breonna Taylor

During the early hours of March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by four Louisville police officers. The police officers were investigating a case where they believed two men were selling drugs at a house that was close to Taylor’s house. The officers entered the wrong home and fired several shots that ended up striking Taylor and taking her life. Taylor was a 26-year-old African-American EMT. 

The Murder of Armaud Marquez Arbery

On February 23, 2020, Ahmaud Marquez Arbery , an unarmed 25-year-old African American man, was jogging outside. Arbery was chased by two white men,  Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael. Ahmaud and Travis McMichael brawled over the McMichael’s shotgun and Arbery was shot three times. As of June 3, 2020, both men have been charged with aggravated assault and felony murder. It is still unknown as to why an altercation broke out between the men. 

Students Respond to the Use of Excessive Force by Police Officers and Lack of Police Accountability 

 

Auslin Mills, 18, Senior 

It is about time that the corrupt policing system is held accountable for its brutal treatment of black men and women.”

— Auslin Mills

In the past week, I have watched police officers tear gas, beat, and shoot rubber bullets at peaceful protestors, and it amazes me that at protests against police brutality, police officers are attacking protestors. Whether we get it peacefully or violently, we need a change in this country. I’m glad that out of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, people have become more aware, but I hope this isn’t a trend. It’s not enough to just acknowledge racism, but everyone must make the conscious decision to be anti-racist. This means calling out racist family members, friends, and colleagues. This means donating and signing petitions. This means voting! There’s no excuse for ignorance anymore because the information is available everywhere. If black children as young as 5 are made aware of racism, and have to be taught how to deal with the police, then there is no excuse. The fact that people are leaving their homes in the middle of a global pandemic to fight for equal rights and protest police brutality speaks volumes about the state of America. I believe we are in the midst of a revolution, and I sincerely hope that every person chooses to be on the right side of history.

 

Jaspreet Manko, 16, Sophomore

I’m tired. I’m tired of seeing individuals get treated inhumanely because of their skin color. I’m tired of seeing biased media coverage. I’m tired of humans needing to fight for their basic rights.

I’m tired of people being ignorant to what’s happening around them.”

— Jaspreet Manko

 

Jodi Owusu, 15, Sophomore

Dear America- We have had enough and we need justice now. We have seen through the news and social media last week that America is going through a racial revolution whether you like it or not. Black people are tired of seeing their brothers and sisters constantly getting killed due to the color of their skin by the people who are supposed to ”protect us”. The video of 46-year-old black man named George Floyd that was killed by a knee to the neck by Officer Chauvin has been viewed by millions of people worldwide.

Upon viewing this video, I was disgusted, at a loss for words, and cried for days. This officer went home the next day to his family when Floyd did not.”

— Jodi Owusu

This demonstrates white privilege and how corrupt the judicial system is. There are  many unarmed black people that have lost their lives to cops, and most of the assailants roam free.  After 400 years of oppression amongst blacks, we are tired and we have had enough. It’s 2020 and we are still fighting for an issue that our grandparents fought for. From a young age, we experience racism and our parents have to constantly tell us “ watch out”, “comply with police”, “don’t put your hood on”, “don’t drive with the music too loud”. These are phrases that a white person will never hear because of the privilege they have in this country. America, it’s been 400 years of oppression, and blacks are tired. We have had enough, it seems as if we cannot walk, jog, or even breathe anymore. We want justice and equality.

Sincerely,

The Black Community 

 

Mialena Alves, 16, Junior

It is extremely disgraceful that black women, men and children are stripped of their freedom of speaking and behaving freely in public. America has become a halfway house, a place sponsored by the government, to place people with a criminal background or disability, to relearn the necessary skills to reintegrate with society. There are many unwritten rules that black Americans have to abide by in order for them to not look “suspicious” or just be accepted and safe in society.  America’s hidden agendas, the media and our society, have failed to protect the simple rights of black women and men as claimed in the Constitution. Enough is enough. Black Americans are simply pursuing equality, not revenge. The amount of damage and trauma that America has imposed upon its black citizens for 400 years of systematic oppression and discrimination is absolutely outrageous and downright shameful. The recognition of the extremely disheartening and prolonged problem of police brutality is long overdue.

The #BlackLivesMatter movement has brought this deep rooted problem to light. This year will be written in history and the upcoming generations will not only be educated about these events, but will also be greatly affected by them.”

— Mialena Alves

The people are finally beginning to come together now. We all must take action and stay focused on our goal of achieving real justice. This is not the time to be passive. We must fight the good fight. We are at the tipping point of a grand revolution that will hopefully bring on some concrete change! 

 

Ababa Lorde, 15, Sophomore

George Floyd was yet another innocent black person whose life was taken away from him because of the color of his skin. We protest, and we’re beaten, killed, and framed by the people who claim they’re here to protect us. Cops all around the nation are setting fire to their old cars, breaking store windows, and setting up piles of bricks on street corners, all trying to antagonize peaceful protestors and the BLM movement. They’ve also pulled down a protestor’s mask to spray tear gas directly in their face, tear gassed a nine-year-old child who wasn’t even at a protest but waiting for the bus, threw a woman to the ground resulting in a seizure and concussion, shot people directly in the face with rubber bullets(at least three protestors lost an eye), tased two college students while they were trying to drive home, drove into a crowd of protestors, trampled a woman with a horse, beat a cyclist to the ground, refused those who needed medical attention, spilled out bottles of water meant for protestors, trapped a group of protestors on a bridge for hours, assaulted and arrested many on-scene reporters, shot a pregnant woman in the stomach with a rubber bullet resulting in her unborn child’s death; the list goes on.

In reality, law enforcement is doing exactly what their jobs call for—enforcing the law—and when the system that creates the law is corrupt, their enforcers are naturally corrupt as well. This is why we need reform and we need it now.”

— Ababa Lorde

We’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. I don’t want the next decade’s generation to have to fight, again, for the right to be a black person in America. Nobody should have to fight for 400+ years to be treated equally. Nobody should have to fight to be treated as human.

 

David Macaulay-Smith, 17, Junior

I am dissapointed at the state of our country. George Floyd was pleading for his life and the officer still couldn’t stop kneeling on his neck.

A man who is handcuffed and unarmed should not be a threat to the police.”

— David Macaulay-Smith

Floyd’s murder was police brutality at its finest. We have seen so many black civilians lose their lives while their murderers are still walking free to this day. Black people are getting killed and nothing is being done about it. This has to stop immediately. 

 

Rachel Torrey, 15, Freshman

What happened to George Floyd was just devastating, sad and frustrating because he was an innocent and unarmed African-American man.  The officier Derek Chauvin suffocated him with absolutely no remorse and it is disgusting.  History is repeating itself with another death of  an African-American and they’re  being killed because of the color of their skin.

George Floyd sadly passed away but many people honor him today. There are so many resources to help out in many ways. Hopefully there will be a change out of these unfortunate circumstances.”

— Rachel Torrey

Photo Credit: Photo via Getty Images under the creative commons license.

Resources:

Color of Change:https://colorofchange.org/

Campaign Zero:https://www.joincampaignzero.org/#vision

ACLU:https://www.aclu.org/

Black Lives Matter:https://blacklivesmatter.com/

NAACP Legal Defense Fund: https://www.naacpldf.org/

Fair Fight: https://fairfight.com/

 

The Torch would like to thank Mrs. Jones for providing resources.

 

If you would like to make a stand:

Protest in Woodbridge, New Jersey this Sunday 

JUNE 7, 2020 at 1pm  in PARKERS PRESS PARK

*please wear a mask and practice social distancing