Black Lives Matter
Updated: Aug 17
Esha Rao '21
Minneapolis, Minnesota. May 25, 2020.
8 minutes and 46 seconds. That’s how long Officer Derek Chauvin forced his knee on George Floyd’s neck–killing him. In the minutes before, Floyd was handcuffed face down in the street, while two other officers restrained him and a fourth prevented onlookers from intervening. His words, “I can’t breathe”, were followed by a final shove to his neck, as he breathed his last. He was arrested for allegedly using a $20 counterfeit bill.
As our country faces a pandemic, the death of George Floyd, at the hands of the Minneapolis Police, has shifted the “Black Lives Matter” movement to the forefront of major countries’ attention. In cities throughout the world, such as Paris, London, and Amsterdam, people are flooding the streets to have their voices heard. People are united in their opposition to police brutality, the use of excessive force, and racial injustice, which so evidently corrupts the justice systems we trust.
On June 7th, hundreds of people gathered at Lawrence High School before embarking
on a peaceful protest through Princeton Pike, Darrah Lane, Gainsboro Road, and Route 206. Chanting “no justice, no peace” and holding signs that read “Black Lives Matter”, the attendees of this protest were advocating for much needed change. Prior to the march, students spoke about how young adults have the responsibility to spark a change. As a community, we must communicate with each other to have a profound impact on racial injustice. The death of George Floyd has brought the “Black Lives Matter” movement to the public consciousness and conversation. This time, however, increased student activism has ensured that the “Black Lives Matter” protests, the current incarnation of the Civil Rights Movement, is more powerful than ever.
For about three months before George Floyd’s death, we lived in a state of hyper-vigilance and anxiety, coping with feelings of uncertainty, fear, and vulnerability due to COVID-19. This virus forced a lot of students to quarantine at home, and some lost their jobs, while many educated college graduates were furloughed as our economy plunged. But, these people are at the heart of the movement: student activists. Right after Floyd’s death, the news of the protests had spread tremendously through social media. Now, on apps such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, students are relaying information about the history of racism in this country, providing links to fundraisers and petitions, sharing videos of police brutality and protests around the world, and offering safety advice to those taking part in the protests. These efforts are not in vain; they rally support in our united strive for racial justice. Student activism has proven to be a prominent figure in the BLM movement, and in addition, demonstrates that many are dedicated to achieving justice.