Editorial: In These Times, Use Your Voice

Co-editor, Catherine Adams shares how racial injustice needs to be challenged and how everyone should take action.

On Monday, May 25th, George Floyd, a 46 year old black man died in Minneapolis, MN. He was held down on his neck by the knee of a police officer while he yelled that he couldn’t breathe. He later died in the hospital.  The police were arresting him after they received a call that he was suspected for using counterfeit money. Whether or not it was counterfeit, the subject being that he didn’t do anything to deserve the result that he did.   

As teenagers in 2020, we need to talk about things that make us sick to our stomachs and keep us up at night. When I heard the news I broke down in tears for him and his family.  In the position I have as Co-Editor of this high school newspaper, I feel it is my duty as an ally to stand up for those who need it.  There are no sides to this situation, watching the tear jerking video of George Floyd’s death, there can only be one response that Floyd was murdered. Although there has not been murder charges yet, officials have commented on the situation saying that in no place are officers ever taught to restrain people by the neck and especially for that long. It is not about political parties. It doesn’t matter how old you are.  It doesn’t matter how much money you have.  It doesn’t matter what the color of your skin is. We have to look at this situation as human beings.  

This murder is something that needs to be talked about.  We live in a society today where someone says, “Did you hear about that black person that was killed? And many respond with “which one?”  We live in a world where people of color are still discriminated against and profiled based on what they look like. We live in a world where the Confederate flag still flies and KKK rallies still happen and in fact have reported an increase in members over the past three years. We live in a world were modern slavery is still relevant. We go to a school where swastikas were drawn on the walls.  It needs to stop.  

Social media has its negative and its positives. It can cause a lot of harm, but can bring awareness and action effectively and efficiently.  There are thousands of students and young adults that see something and stand up for it.  Young adults who are not silent would make Martin Luther King and Malcolm X proud. Although as a society we are not where we should be, we are not letting this go silent.  There have been trending hashtags, and republished posts not only about George Floyd but, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Terence Crutcher, Tamir Rice, Micheal Brown, and many others.  Social media has piloted change in this technology-driven world and helped raise awareness and it definitely should continue.  

Writing about this as a seventeen year old is scary, but important.  I feel it is necessary for everyone to stand up.  We are the generation that can and should put a stop to it.  We are the generation that can choose to be on the right side of history.  

As someone who is white, I am keenly aware of my privilege, but I hope that I can bring awareness to our town and country.  We need to each have a voice.  Being an ally is a start, especially by challenging people who say racist things.  Standing up for those who are oppressed is what needs to happen, not should.  We all should watch the news, watch documentaries, educate ourselves and then stand up for friends, neighbors and fellow humans, post on social media and maybe even start our own march.