I am proud of all I have accomplished; this fall I will be on my way to pursue higher education at an accredited university and I am honored to be recognized as the winner of the Minds Matter Achievement Scholarship for the Class of 2020. But no amount of education, no amount of praise, money, or honor can keep me safe from the harsh reality: I am what America hates. A strong, educated, young Black woman.
And no one can refute this statement. Black people are dying at the hands of racist police officers and white supremacists all the time. And not a single thing has been done about it. There has been no change. So often I am left to wonder, am I next? My family? My friends? Because for a long time now I have known that ‘freedom and justice for all’ does not apply to the Black community.
The recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor have left me in literal tears as I grieved not only their deaths but countless others including those we don’t know about, but have happened. I am frustrated, sad, scared and confused. But most of all, I am tired. Tired of these murders that could be prevented. Tired of the injustice. Tired of the lack of representation. Tired of the lack of education and the carelessness that comes from so many.
As I write this statement that reaches all of those who support Minds Matter, I want you to know that I am just one of many Black students that you are supporting. I want you to know, especially if you are non-black, that police brutality is real, Black Lives Matter, racism in this country is systematic, and as a result of this, many of you benefit from your own privileges. I want you to know that your silence, neutrality, and indifference will do nothing but allow for these things to continue to take place. I understand that for many of you this is unfamiliar, these are things you never had to think about or talk about, but that in itself is a problem. It is not the job of your Black peers, friends, coworkers, or employers to educate you on racism. There are thousands of resources at your disposal to educate yourselves on these matters whether it be books or movies. There is no excuse to not know and to not share what you know. I have linked here and here documents that list out thousands of resources to check out as well as be shared among friends and family.
As you continue to support Minds Matter and its students, know that we are passionate, goal driven, and ready to conquer whatever the world brings. We are resilient and strong. I ask that you continue to be compassionate and open minded, and that you continue to be supportive especially during these times. Lastly, I ask, to use your privilege to be a supportive ally.