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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Tampa chapter.

Dear America,

Racism is not new. Racism is engraved into the very streets you walk on. It was built by the founders you look up to oh so much. Racism is the air you breathe and the food you eat. This very land that you call home was stolen from Native Americans, who loved and cherished it long before your ancestors came along and beat, raped, and stole it.

All lives matter, and I understand that, but if the only time you say that is when you’re upset about my protest then it’s not the lives you’re caring about, it’s just a protest to my protest. It’s a phrase to break me down and shut me up. But guess what? It’s not working. I will not stay quiet until there are no more beautiful melanin bodies laying on your ground at the hands of those you chose to protect you. Police have never been there to protect us. We are not equal. We never have been. I hate to break it to you, but if you can’t bring yourself to stand with us, you are against us. If you don’t understand, the racism we are protesting against is you.

Jalyssa is a Senior at the University of Tampa and the President of Her Campus at UT. She has worked with issues of human rights and advocation since high school. She is passionate about helping others, writing, and speaking up for those who can't advocate for themselves. Jalyssa's other interests include roller skating, art, music and make up. She hopes to one day become a criminal defense attorney.
Amanda Thompson is a native of Portland, Maine who is currently a Senior studying Communications at The University of Tampa. When she's not binge-watching New Girl, you can find her dancing around to Jhené Aiko, Lana Del Rey or Kehlani. If you want to keep up with Amanda, follow her on Instagram @amaandathompson