Why I Go to BLM Protests

I am a white female. I understand I am extremely privileged because of my skin color. I have never been denied anything because of my skin color. My life is not harder because of my skin color. I have never feared police officers because of my skin color. 

As a young child, you can not identify discrimination very easily. In fact, you might not know it exists. You might be raised by a family who says racism is over, but you get to an age where you start seeing things for yourself. 

I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by people for most of my life who are aware of these flaws in our country. I have friends and family who, while they are white, are just as mad about the lives of black people being taken more lightly than those of people who look like us. 

Of course, there are many people in my life who have the point of view that black lives matter means only black lives matter. They think this is a hateful saying. This movement is not about donating money to an organization called "Black Lives Matter." We are donating to legal funds, bail funds, supporting black businesses, and signing petitions that demand justice. 

One of my goals is to educate myself and the generations before me about the systemic racism of our country. I hope to show others that the more they learn and open their minds, they do not need to be angry about a movement that is only asking for equal rights. 

It pains me to see people of color being discriminated against so blatantly in the criminal justice system and by civilians everyday of their life. Because I will never have to experience this, I will do what I can to understand, support, and stand with all people of color. 

That is the first reason I go to Black Lives Matter protests. 

Black lives matters protest

 

I go to protests to stand in solidarity with everyone whose rights are diminished because of the color of their skin. At every protest I have gone to, there has been a large number of people who are not black, but there for the same reasons as me. 

This shows me that so many people, like myself, are upset that people born with our privilege are taking advantage of it and getting away with crimes. 

This is not a race war, or a political divide. It is not black vs white. The outrage about the saying “Black Lives Matter” from people responding with “all lives matter” says just about everything you need to know about the United States. 

BLM sign at protest

When this movement was sparked by the death of George Floyd on May 25th, 2020, people began marching and protesting. That was the last straw for many people of color have continuously seen people who look like them wrongfully killed by police. No trial. No jury. No judgement. 

People responding to George Floyd being suffocated on the sidewalk by the knee of a police officer for 8 minutes 46 seconds with, “Well, wasn’t he a criminal?” or “Well, what did he do to get in that position?” says all you need to know about that person. 

Black lives matter peaceful protest

George Floyd was accused of trying to use a counterfeit twenty dollar bill. Yes, you read that correctly. He was killed by a police officer over maybe almost using a fake twenty dollar bill. 

There are murderers still alive. 

Just to be clear, even if it was true that he was using fake money, he should still be alive today. 

BLM is about people asking that we are treated equally and given the same rights to a trial and jury regardless of the crime, just as most white people are.

At each protest I have gone to I have learned so much. People speak and share their stories. I have seen people of all ages speak about why they are upset, what should change, and what they have experienced.

I have seen children as young as 13-years-old at a protest speaking about how they don’t want to live in fear, and people well into their adulthood who are tired of having to deal with the prejudice of our country. 

One young teenager spoke about how they are a minority as they are part of the LGBTQ community. However, they recognize they still have more privilege because they are white.  

Black lives matter protest signs

People of color should not have to live in fear because they have seen people like them, Breonna Taylor, killed sleeping in their own bed. 

One of the biggest lessons that going to protests and continuing to read about every aspect of the BLM movement has taught me, is how to be an ally as a non person of color. 

One of the first steps is to educate yourself and confront your biases. Everyone has them, and that’s okay. The important thing is to learn from them and do better. If you know you have privileges because of your skin, but don’t understand why, learn more about it. If you don't know where to look, read the essay, Understanding White Privilege

After recognizing and understanding your privilege, you need to work against the racist systems that are in place in our country. It is your job to use your voice to write in and call local government officials and police stations to hold them accountable. 

Breonna Taylor’s murderers have still not been arrested or charged for entering the wrong house with a search warrant for someone who was already in custody. The person they were looking for was already in custody when they shot her in her sleep. 

Let that sink in.

The Breonna Taylor Law has been created, which banned no-knock warrants, but no one is truly being held accountable for killing this innocent woman. We all need to call Louisville, Kentucky and demand justice. You can click here to find numbers that you can call. 

Derek Chauvin, the officer who killed George Floyd was fired and is facing second degree murder and manslaughter charges. The petitions online were a huge part of bringing attention to these police officers. The other officers involved may be charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin in Floyd’s death. 

There is a long time line of black people wrongfully killed by police, including 12-year-old Tamir Rice who was shot for holding a toy gun.  Everyone should be mad about these deaths. There needs to be change. De-funding the police does not mean getting rid of the entire police system. It means re-distributing money to other institutions like schools, housing facitilites, and health care. 

Please continue sharing resources on social media. Continue calling and singing petitions. 

Click here for a link to sign petitions, call authorities, donate, or to share with others to continue the fight against racism.