1. How has the recent Black Lives Matter protest movement impacted you?
I think the movement has finally placed the necessary amount of pressure on communities, individuals, and people in power to start recognizing the issues that are affecting black people around the country and the world. People, including myself, have become uncomfortable with conformity and silent allyship which is important and necessary. It is no longer okay to accept the “status quo” and move on with your life, especially on social media. It is okay to have uncomfortable conversations with yourself and those around you and address biases head-on instead of dancing around the subject. I would have rarely voiced my opinion, questions, and concerns if it wasn’t for the open dialogue that has been going on online.
2. Have you participated in a march or rally? If yes, what was your experience?
Living with parents that are considered high-risk to COVID-19, my friends and I did not feel comfortable with attending marches in person. Instead, we decided to actively participate online and in private spaces where meaningful change can be made. We did participate in a caravan protest back in June which did not last long but it was very uplifting to see people come together and do what they can to spread awareness.
While not a formal protest, I taught at a sewing camp this past summer that caters to a lot of the black/brown youth around the area. The organization, known as “BayGanda” aims to teach young girls valuable skills and lessons on gender, individuality, and unity in both the Bay Area and in Uganda where the founder travels to twice a year. Since the camp session fell right at the peak of the BLM resurgence, Erica, the founder, made it a point to give these young girls an active voice in the community by hosting a protest style socially distant fashion show in the park.
3. Which of the girls profiled in the article resonated with you the most?
I feel most connected to Tiana Day and her story. She stated how growing up she was sheltered from the rest of the world and how even though her parents tried their best to make sure she felt secure, she still dealt with a lot of racial prejudice. I loved how she was able to connect with people online and unleash this power that she has in order to lead a movement and in turn connect even further with her parents.
4. Choose a key quote and comment on it. Does it inspire you to action?
“I will say that sometimes the more popular elder activists are reformist. And I think that my generation is kind of calling for abolition rather than reform.” – Brianna Chandler, 19, Olivette, MO.
I think it is so important to highlight the generational differences in the movements and how it is evolving. What Gen Z is aiming to do now is way beyond some of our grandparents’ wildest dreams and that is what makes it so monumental. It is important to be radical and challenge the systems that we have grown up in order to see any progress. This quote stuck out to me because of its clear message, we want more than reform, we want to see structures torn down and rebuilt.
5. Given that there are so many young leaders rising up to take the helm in their communities, how does this differ from historic protest movements?