The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



Your silence = violence: why everyone needs to speak up for Black Lives Matter


  As everyone is painfully aware of the situations happening in the world, and more specifically, that the US is in a state of reformation and rebellion, it’s becoming more apparent that something needs to be done in terms of the Black Lives Matter movement.

  On June 1, I witnessed a peaceful protest happen in downtown San Luis Obispo.

I also witnessed on multiple people’s social media accounts, videos of police officers kneeling down with the protestors. At first sight, it seemed like something was changing. It seemed like even in our own little white privileged town that at least a small portion of the movement was being spread. That shred of hope, just a few hours later, turned into something horrific.

   Just two hours after a few police officers knelt with protesters, tear gas was thrown into the peaceful crowds in SLO.  

  The media specifically in the US is at fault for cherry picking what mass audiences see. Whether it’s specific wording coming from the Twitter account of Donald Trump himself, or reporters live from riots broadcasting on CNN, it is never the whole truth.

  The media won’t show you the peaceful protesters being abused by cops, or the opportunists present just for the purpose of looting stores, or the protesters that do try to stop unnecessary violence. And unless it pops up on your TikTok for you page or goes viral on Twitter, it probably would never be seen.

  The media loves to portray these protestors fighting for equality and the right to freedom of speech as “thugs”, but coronavirus protestors, with guns on their backs, and signs with “I need a haircut” written on them as “very good people”. The media won’t let you see the good in the protests, and the bad and the ugly that comes from the other side.

  The police force won’t address the fact that an innocent 9-year-old girl was maced at point blank range for walking home in the middle of a protest in another state.

  These peaceful protests are turning violent because of police officers intervening. They aren’t stopping any of the looting, they aren’t protecting anyone. They serve the purpose of the putting on a good show for the media. They serve the purpose of scaring people into silence.

  If you are complacent in a situation regarding basic human rights, then you are taking the side of the oppressor. If you refuse to post on social media for the purpose of staying out of politics, then you are on the side of the oppressor. Because this isn’t a discussion about politics, this isn’t Democrat versus Republican and this isn’t conservative versus liberal. This is standing up for basic human rights. 

  Especially in a town like SLO, where the majority of the people reading this will never know what it’s like to be on the side of the oppressed. Now is the most important time to use your voice, and use your privilege to be heard and protect those who wake up everyday with the fear they could lose their life for a wrong turn signal, or playing with a nerf gun, or paying with a 20 dollar bill.

  As I said before, this isn’t about politics, this is about rebelling against a system created to suppress the minority. Looting may not be necessary, but protests are. Some of the biggest changes and events in history were made because of protests. Stonewall, the Civil Rights Movement, and even the Boston Tea Party; all incorporated rioting and/or protests to make sure their voices were heard against an oppressive government.

  We don’t want anarchy, we want equality, and the fact that we don’t 100% have that is appalling. It’s 2020. Wake up, people. Do not be silent. We live in a country where freedom of speech is written in our constitution. We should be allowed to use it to support each other, not tear each other down for the color of our skin. 

  All in all, we are witnessing some of the most historic years in history, and each and every one of us should be on the right side of that. The side that chooses equality and peace, and supporting movements like Black Lives Matter, because they do matter.

  We were the generation that starting at a young age grew up reading books like “The Hunger Games”, where revolution and rebellion were praised and were on the side of the protagonists. We are the generation that will ignite change, and will make sure our voices are heard. 

  So with that, you don’t have to be at a protest to support, but staying silent should not be an option. We all have a duty to support and protect each other because we are all created equal, and in the words of Katinss Everdeen, “if we burn they burn with us.” So do not be afraid to use your voice, in public, at home, or on social media because Black Lives Matter.

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