Black Lives Matter Editorial

Black+Lives+Matter+Editorial

Dear Advocate Readers,

Following the death of George Floyd, who was murdered by three Minneapolis police officers after being pinned in an illegal choke hold, our country has seen a record number of people participating in protests against racial injustice and police brutality. Since then, police have killed another 59 Black Americans and will continue to do so unless systemic change occurs. The United States is still rooted in racism, with many police officers and citizens getting away with the murder of black men, women, and children. Yet, they don’t face any consequences for their actions.

To say that our country is in a time of emergency and crisis would be an understatement. Black individuals have been treated not only like second class citizens, but with disrespect, malice, and hatred. George Floyd’s death got our attention because of the viral video depicting graphic imagery of an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over 8 minutes. But his name should not be the only one we are saying. Even when there are no recordings, we must continue to advocate for justice for those who can no longer speak for themselves. We must say the names of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Atatiana Jefferson, Jacob Blake and countless others.

America, “the land of the free,” oppresses minorities and allows for endemic racism in our criminal justice system, politics, employment, housing, healthcare, and education. For example, in 2018, the median income for white families was $70.6 K. For Black Americans? $41.7 K. This directly affects healthcare options for Black Americans as well, and in a health crisis, they are being severely affected. In fact, across the nation, Black people are twice as likely to pass away from the Covid-19 virus than those of other race groups.

Sitting idly by while Black Americans are killed on the streets by police and white supremacists is not an option. As individuals, we must do what we can with the resources we have. We must take to the streets and use our first amendment rights to demand change. We must donate to bail funds and nonprofit organizations. We must sign petitions, send emails, and call our local state officials. We must take it upon ourselves to get educated and empathize with the Black experience. Most importantly, we must actively recognize our implicit biases and call ourselves out.

As for the Advocate, we must do more. We are the student-led publication for the Academy, and as such, it is our responsibility to inform our readers and give students a voice. In order to create a change in the way Black students and faculty are represented and treated at the Academy, we pledge to cover topics that pertain to and include these community members. We pledge to uplift Black voices, allowing them to speak for themselves by participating in interviews and writing articles. In order for the community to make a positive change, we must first and foremost listen to the Black experience.

For this reason, we will be launching a blog that is open for student submissions, in which diverse students discuss their experiences at the Academy. All forms of media are welcome (video, writing, photos, podcast, etc) and all students are encouraged to submit responses regarding their experiences and answering the blog prompts. In addition, we have compiled a list of resources containing information about how you can help combat racism locally and nationally.

We hope you all will join us in our mission to make not only the Academy community, but the world, a more equal and just place. It is all of our responsibilities to create systemic change.

Sincerely,

The Academy Advocate Editorial Board