B.L.M. and NCCC

by Mikayla Halliday                                

The Black Lives Matter movement has become one of the most significant movements in U.S. history. On June 6th, more than half a million people participated in protests in around 550 places across the United States. That one day had more protests than an entire month, and they continue to occur in our present time. 

On July 21st Good Morning America reported that on June 6th, around 50,000 people attended protests in Philadelphia, 20,000 in Chicago, and almost around 10,000 on the Golden Gate Bridge were by NPR. In the United States, there have been more than 4,700 demonstrations. Since protests began in Minneapolis, on May 26th, protests have ranged from dozens to tens of thousands in about 2,500 small towns and large cities. While the group does not necessarily direct each protest, it provides materials, guidance, and new activists’ framework. Many activists are taking to social media to share protest details to a broad audience quickly. 

On the official Black Lives Matter website, people can read about what they are fighting for, the good that has come out of these protests, and be able to fully understand why they are making a stand and have so many people standing with them. Black Lives Matter has been an important organization since 2013 but has become more prominent in 2020 due to overwhelming police brutality and systemic racism in America. There has been a massive shift in public opinion about the movement and more overall support for recent protests. Organizations such as the N.F.L., celebrities, and news broadcasts have encouraged many supporters who usually sit on the sidelines to get involved. Unlike past black lives matter movements, nearly 95 percent of counties that had a protest recently are majority white, and almost three-quarters of the counties are more than 75 percent white. On July 21st, Good Morning America reported saying that 63% of Americans support Black Lives Matter, and 69% say black Americans are denied equal treatment in our criminal justice system. The protests continued even after colliding with the country’s most devastating pandemic in modern history.

The number of protests has fallen a considerable amount since the first protest on May 26th, but these protests’ impact has been rather significant in such a short time period. On September 4th, Harmeet Kaur reported for CNN saying, “About 93% of racial justice protest in the US have been peaceful”. Also, Journalist Ashley Southall for The New York Times reported, “Over 323,911 accusations of N.Y.P.D misconduct were released online reported. Around The United States, a considerable amount of states have made multiple changes”. Minneapolis pledged to dismantle their police department. In New York, lawmakers have repealed a law that kept police disciplinary records secret, along with other various cities and states across the country passing new laws banning chokeholds. Mississippi lawmakers have also voted to retire their state flag, which includes a Confederate battle emblem.

When it comes to our school at Niagara County Community College. I was given the opportunity to interview the newly appointed president of our student government Association, Arianna Morales. I wanted to interview Arianna because I feel as though she has been well involved without school and is one of the main people to have the best view of our school, especially from a current student. I also want to find out some of her views on B.L.M. and how it has changed our school. Starting off our interview, I asked, “What are your opinions on B.L.M.?” She responded by saying, “The B.L.M. movement is revolutionary. There are thousands of victims of systematic racism and discrimination. We must unite and recognize that this immorally doesn’t seem right. I am an ally and S.G.A. proudly supports this George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor. WE MUST SAY THEIR NAMES!” I agree with Arianna, and as I said before, this movement has become one of the largest and most significant movements in United States history. Following up, the next question I asked was, “What has our school done, or has it made any changes regarding B.L.M.?” Arianna’s response was, “We plan to educate and inform students about B.L.M. One of the student service system messages recently was a statement regarding the case of Breonna Taylor. We are utilizing the S.E.L. to host diversity events. We also have made plans to start working with the chief diversity and equity officer, John Strong, to help promote and do our part to support the B.L.M. movement.” To conclude the interview, I asked Arianna, “Is there anything you think our school should do or change?” She responded by saying, “I think that our school could do more when It comes to this movement. We could post more updates showing our support and allyship with this movement. I see those small changes starting to happen, and I am confident that they will continue to keep pushing these initiatives!”

Black lives matter is a substantial movement that will continue and get stronger and gain more momentum. This political issue will not be pushed away or downgraded. It is alive and striving. African Americans, along with many whites and people of different cultural backgrounds, are beginning to continue the work of great activists such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks. They stand for the lives lost, such as George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor and so many more black lives that have been lost just in the last couple of years.