I’m sure you’ve heard this more often than you’ve cared to, but we are living in unprecedented times right now, in more ways than one. When we first started hearing this, it was because of the Covid-19 pandemic that was (and currently still is) running rampant in our country and causing businesses and entire communities across the board to close down. But when the tragedy of George Floyd had arisen, we were met with another momentous occurrence: despite the fact that we’ve seen and heard so many stories of Black lives being taken by our own police so many times, people actually took notice this time around. The people have decided that they’re not going to let another life go without a fight. So they took to the streets to peacefully protest and they took to social media to spread awareness and expand this great big lesson to as many people as possible. Those in the Black community made their voices heard, and some not in the Black community either expressed solidarity or lent their voices to those who have been marginalized for so long.
As is the reality of news cycles, after a week of coverage of the “protests” (but really just the looting, which was committed by opportunists, not genuine protestors), the calls for change that came out of the revitalized Black Lives Matter movement fell out of the limelight and back into the white noise of social commentary. But just because Black Lives Matter is not the breaking news story of the day doesn’t mean the work has stopped. We haven’t achieved the goals that were demanded. Because change isn’t easy, and change doesn’t happen overnight. People are still out on the streets today protesting and working towards policies that will create real genuine change. Because this is not a moment. It’s a movement. Or at least it will be, if we stay vigilant.
And let’s be real, if we don’t keep pushing, if people don’t keep reminding society that this movement still exists and still has questions and needs unanswered, it’s going to be forgotten. It will in fact be just a moment. We’ve seen this happen time and time again. It’s the same reason why Black Americans can recall so many times in history that felt like this, that looked like this. It’s the reason that these members of our community are doubtful of real change and are hesitant to believe that this is real. If we concede that this attention that was given to the protests and the miniscule, if any, degree of change is enough, those in power will continue with their old ways, they will continue to find new and pernicious ways to maintain their supremacy and nurture their racism.
Growing up, I was taught, amongst many other things, that the effect we have on the world as individuals is insignificant. Our only goal in life was supposed to be to survive, not to thrive. In practice, this really cultivates a mentality that we should be grateful for whatever we have and not ask for more. But what I’ve learned being part of a marginalized community in our country is that what we’re given is sorely lacking. We’re not given nearly enough, and we should ask for more. Or rather, we should demand for more, not just for ourselves, but for other equally or more marginalized people as well. Together, we can do so much more. So let’s do more.
Let’s make this moment a movement, one that can’t be ignored.