No Justice, No Peace

I have so much love for every single person who came out to Black Lives Matter protests across the country or has supported them from home. This is not my first protest (and it will not be my last), and not my first that fights for a cause that does not directly affect me. I can never even begin to imagine the pain of the black community or the pain of any person of color. What I can do is give all my love and support as an ally. I have no right to tell others’ stories or to forgive on their behalf, or to decide how to mourn, or how to protest. I’ll follow their lead and stand with them.

We allies only briefly put our health and safety at risk to be there, we walked miles, spent hours showing our support, a young white man walked on crutches next to me with no right leg from the hip down, and my feet were covered in bloody blisters by the time I got home late at night. Still, I will never understand even a little bit what it is like to walk in the shoes of a person of color. I understand that I will never understand. I acknowledge my privilege as a white individual. And I will use it to amplify the voices of those without that privilege. (I will gladly take criticism if I out-step my role.) There is really nothing more fulfilling than helping others, a responsibility we have to take as part of one global community. Every day, I work full-time in healthcare helping patients, and then I come home and continue to help people in other ways through non-profits, advocacy, and donations even when I don’t have much. It helps me sleep a little better at night. We need these kinds of actions to see change. Words and condolences are not enough. It’s horrifying already that these protests absolutely need to happen even during a pandemic, because even as the black community disproportionately suffers from COVID-19, they continue to still be subjected to police brutality and hatred.

At various protests, law enforcement beat civilians, set off tear gas, drove over protestors, knocked over kneeling individuals with their hands up, and responded with twice the amount of violence instigated by protestors (if any). A black woman suffered a miscarriage after being beaten by a policeman. My friends and I are lucky to not have been hurt and not arrested yesterday. We have other protestors to thank for that, who got together and blocked the streets, warned us, and physically did not let people go to the area that got violent. If people are upset about the looting of large corporations, they’re again valuing materials over black lives and not understanding the centuries of systemic racism and violence people of color have been subjected to in order to get this country and its economy to where it is today. When you build a country on the backs of others, it is not yours. It is not yours when it’s their blood, sweat, and tears, never even repaid or honored or granted the rights others have. The country lost its mind when Colin took a knee as a peaceful protest, so even harmless statements are rejected and considered “unpatriotic”. “All lives matter” and “blue lives matter” are not appropriate and only take away from the point and only prove the issue. No one is saying that all lives do not have value, just like no one is saying that all men are evil when we say #metoo and they respond #notallmen. This is about giving a voice to communities that seldom have one and giving them their due time and rights, centuries late. Any other phrases are a distraction to the cause and an inability to see beyond one’s own identity.

Remember that the media has been choosing to focus more on violence on behalf of protesters across the country than the majority of us who walked peacefully. Violence is sensational, makes better headlines, shocks, and divides us further. Know that most of these protests have been peaceful and powerful in their calm and confident unity. Individuals have been giving out masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, water, snacks, and proudly participating in our common goal to create a better world. It was beautiful to see such overwhelming support, passion, and bravery, and it was hard to not get emotional. I’ll always remember this experience. 2020 will go down in history.

Thank you to every individual who showed up and continues to fight even from home. There’s still a lot of work to be done.

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I have so much love for every single person who came out to Black Lives Matter protests across the country or has supported them from home. This is not my first protest (and it will not be my last), and not my first that fights for a cause that does not directly affect me. I can never even begin to imagine the pain of the black community or the pain of any person of color. What I can do is give all my love and support as an ally. I have no right to tell others’ stories or to forgive on their behalf, or to decide how to mourn, or how to protest. I’ll follow their lead and stand with them. We allies only briefly put our health and safety at risk to be there, we walked miles, spent hours showing our support, a young white man walked on crutches next to me with no right leg from the hip down, and my feet were covered in bloody blisters by the time I got home late at night. Still, I will never understand even a little bit what it is like to walk in the shoes of a person of color. I understand that I will never understand. I acknowledge my privilege as a white individual. And I will use it to amplify the voices of those without that privilege. (I will gladly take criticism if I out-step my role.) There is really nothing more fulfilling than helping others, a responsibility we have to take as part of one global community. Every day, I work full-time in healthcare helping patients, and then I come home and continue to help people in other ways through non-profits, advocacy, and donations even when I don’t have much. It helps me sleep a little better at night. We need these kinds of actions to see change. Words and condolences are not enough. It’s horrifying already that these protests absolutely need to happen even during a pandemic, because even as the black community disproportionately suffers from COVID-19, they continue to still be subjected to police brutality and hatred. …Continued in photos✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿 ・ ・ ・ ・ ・ #georgefloyd🙏🏾 #georgefloyd #justiceforgeorgefloyd #ahmaudarbery #justiceforahmaud #breonnataylor #justice #blacklivesmatter #endracism #nojusticenopeace #nojusticenopeace✊🏾

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