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**Trigger warning: George Floyd’s murder**

Two minutes in. Standing still and overwhelmed, I had tears streaming down my face, though I didn’t make a sound. Sobbing wasn’t an option. The video glued to my eyes was the type that left you speechless. Being horrified and shocked, combined with wanting to know what happened next, is what kept me silent. It’s what kept me watching as an exhaustive list of questions flooded my mind. Primarily, I wanted to know if he’d survive.

Another pair of prolonged minutes filled with aggression went by. All the concerns that had interrupted my steady breathing had been answered. He didn’t make it. This is how I felt watching the video of Mr. George Floyd lose his life to someone who should’ve protected him.

On May 27, 2020, most of the United States and I witnessed a murder. Two days after the tragedy was all it took for the scene to be viewed by millions.

“This isn’t anything like the movies,” I thought to myself. Pain glossed over his eyes as he foresaw his fate. An interpreter couldn’t portray that aspect of his death on stage or actor in Hollywood.

Mr. George Floyd changed my life.

What I saw that day wasn’t only an unforgettable sight, but the audio that followed would forever be embedded in my brain. The torturous moans mustered out from his compressed diaphragm during his torment were sounds of anguish. Those were the sounds that broke my heart, causing the tears to stream down my pale cheeks. I was paralyzed. Our world witnessed a nightmare that was pulled into reality. The months that followed only revealed more disappointing circumstances.

Sometimes you don’t know what to do or how to help, but I knew that his story had to be shared, and change needed to be implemented. I wanted to be a part of that. Coming into college, I thought my new environment would be the perfect place to rally against racial injustice. Oh, was I wrong.

Admittingly, as a new college student, I’ve never experienced racism and hatred as much as I do now. As a biracial kid who has experienced our world’s current unfortunate climate first-hand, I find myself feeling disappointed at the ignorance that exists within my university. I walk around campus, and I am forced to hear pejorative terms. These words are hurtful, prejudicial and are the most significant indicator of ignorance.

After everything the Black community has gone through, you would think that others wouldn’t be so quick to be blatantly racist, but the fact of the matter holds a devastating truth. Beneath our predominantly white community is incomparable hatred.

Racism has not only become a trend amongst the blind, but is steadily spreading and has always been a lingering pandemic.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “the time is always right to do what is right.” Like any optimistic individual who wants to fight for racial justice, I believe that there are glimmers of hope beyond the inequity surrounding us. Further adjustments will allow for an improved society. Inclusion Boards must be implemented in all major organizations. Black history also must be taught regularly. Once positive changes are encouraged, then perhaps the unnecessary discomfort that surrounds speaking out about racial justice wouldn’t exist.

The Black students who’ve reached incredible heights at the University of Florida deserve more recognition than I believe is currently presented. These students also endure experiences that are unprecedented and unlike any others experiences that must be shared.

It takes us all to set a precedent for a better future. The initial steps in making a change will involve recognizing the difference between right and wrong and standing up and speaking out for justice.

“The time is always right,” and that time is now.

Keila is a second-year Journalism student at the University of Florida. She was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. As a true Florida native, Keila is obsessed with all things Disney. She loves reading, writing, film, glitter, the color pink, and the oxford comma (scary, we know). Keila hopes to have a career central to writing, editing, and media.
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