Racist experience sparks support of systemic changes by students

After+the+deaths+of+George+Floyd%2C+Breonna+Taylor+and+many+other+black+victims%2C+students+seek+changes+of+systemic+racism.

Adriana Chavira

After the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many other black victims, students seek changes of systemic racism.

By Antonio Bedon, Daniel Pearl Magnet High School

Rodney King. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Trayvon Martin. Jacob Blake. Daniel Prude. The list goes on and on. These people aren’t a statistic but victims of systemic racism and police violence.

Black people have been being killed unequivocally in America for hundreds of years but finally we the people have had enough. The unlawful murder of George Floyd by Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin sparked an uprising in this country that won’t stop until justice has been served. 

The justice being sought isn’t obtainable through convictions but through legislation. Systemic racism and systemic oppression has been prominent in this country since the time of slavery, through sneaky real estate moves known as redlining, to an illegal practice called stop- -and-frisk.

Systemic racism has been set up to keep people of color marginalized, oppressed, and poor. With no way to obtain wealth and to pass it down through their families, many people of color are forced to live in the same poverty and crime ridden neighborhoods they grew up in, such as East L.A. and Compton. It is no coincidence that black people make up 8% of Los Angeles’s population but make up 34% of the homeless population. Roughly 75% of the people on Skid Row are black. With no end in sight, these people have nothing to pass on to their family except poverty, only for the cycle of poverty, oppression and jail to repeat itself.

Not only are people of color fighting for change in America but they are fighting for their lives. They have been fighting for fair and equal opportunity since the beginning of time. The horrifying murder of Rodney King and the acquittal of his murderers sparked the infamous 1992 L.A. riots which was the only the beginning  of a nation-wide uprising.

Flash forward 28 years to 2020 where the same riots and uprisings are happening only on a national scale. The murders of Floyd and Taylor ignited nationwide riots and protests in May, which are still going on today in October. The people are sick and tired of seeing the headlines ‘Black Man Killed.’ For many of us, we’ve been hearing about black men getting killed by the police for all of our lives. 

Junior Cameron Frank, whose father is Black, had his own experience with racism and the abuse of power by the police. On the night of June 16, Frank and his father were out looking for suspects who were stealing mail from his apartment complex but were later detained by the police. Frank and his father were among others who were out searching for the suspects but they were the only ones who had guns drawn on them and detained. Coincidentally, they were also the only people of color out searching that night. 

“They pulled around 15-20 guns on my father and I for a crime that we didn’t do,” Frank said after his interaction with the police. “They drew their guns and told us to get on the ground, and lie on our stomachs,with a police helicopter hovering over us”

It wasn’t until three minutes of them laying face down on the cold asphalt with guns drawn that the police realized they had the wrong guys and that  and his father lived in the apartment complex.

For junior Diego Hernandez, the earliest he can remember was “hearing about one of these killings in second grade.” To understand the present, you have to understand the past and recognize that these killings are nothing new. The murder of people of color by the police are the new normal and that’s not okay. Earlier this summer, Hernandez attended a protest  in Northridge for the unlawful killing of Floyd.

“The Black Lives Matter movement is a great and beautifully righteous way to help fight against the plague of racism and fascism,” Hernandez said.

Incidents like what happened to Frank and his father happen too often in America. This is one of the few incidents that was resolved peacefully, others haven’t been as fortunate. As heartbreaking as it is to say, Frank and his father were lucky to walk out of that situation alive and return home to their family. We need change in America and that’s what Black Lives Matter is fighting for. It’s no longer okay to not be racist. We have to be anti-racist.

The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. once said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” and these words have never been more true today.

This story was originally published on The Pearl Post on October 16, 2020.