No Freedom Until We're Equal

Op-ed

Sign petitions, educate others, get rid of your ignorance, the time is NOW. It's not tomorrow, it's not in the future, it's not later today, it is now. Changes start with your actions from the present, not from forthcoming efforts.

Sandra Bland was not able to get a normal traffic ticket. Tamir Rice couldn't live without playing cops and robbers. Stephon Clark was killed because he held a cellphone in hand. Trayvon Martin was only walking home with skittles when he got assassinated. Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel L. Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson all couldn't go to church without dying. They couldn't get one hour of their day to do what they cherish without getting their existence stolen away from.

These are not all. These are just a few. As Will Smith said, "Racism isn't getting worse, it's getting filmed."

George Floyd was murdered after he was restrained by officers. One of the cops in the scene, Derek Chauvin, positioned his left knee between Floyd's head and neck. Floyd kept repeating in agony, "I can't breathe, please, please, please,". A constant eight minutes and 46 seconds of terror. He was later pronounced dead.

If these deaths are being filmed, just imagine all the other ones that are not being published. Where's their justice? Who's going to speak up for them? Who's going to stop others from doing the same? How many lives have to be taken away in order for an alteration to take place? I'm sick and tired of seeing this happen over and over again. Some people will repost the publications, the stories, and the hashtags. However, what comes after that? Do we just forget about their tragedies and wait for the next casualty to happen? NO. It should never be like this. It was never intended to be like this. It's been years. It's been decades. We can't improve or progress if we're stuck in the same setting.

What would you do?

So, imagine if it was your loved one. Imagine if you had to pick up the phone one day to horrible news. One of your friends or family members was shot just because they were walking home or they were just simply breathing. What would you do? Would you make a change? Would you sleep comfortably until justice was proclaimed? Would you be able to live in peace knowing that righteousness has not been served yet?

Wanting to end racism should never be controversial or questionable. It should never be open to debate. It should be apparent. These people have a right to live; just like you do. Yes, you reading this. Unfortunately, they weren't able to fight for their rights. That's why there are people like us, who are still alive and will use the battles we have inside of us to fight for their lives. We have a chance of seeing these disservices take place and do our best to correct them.

The latest news was that the killer responsible for Floyd's death was charged with third-degree murder. At first, you might think, "Finally! Justice was rightfully served." Well, it's not. Third-degree murder is defined as an accidental and unintentional murder. Derek Chauvin's action was in no way, shape, or form, accidental. He knew what he was doing. He had his knee over his neck for almost ten minutes, despite Floyd screaming for his life, "Please, I can't breathe."

Now go back to that scenario I told you about. What if it was one of your loved ones in Floyd's position? Just think about it.

Change needs to happen

We need to make a difference, and it's happening right now. More people are being educated, more people are talking about it, and more people are fighting Floyd's struggle. However, this cannot and will not be forgotten. We need to remember those innocent lives that were taken away. We need to honor those who couldn't live whilst doing what they loved just because of their skin color. As I said in the beginning, we can't just sit around and wait for that change to happen. We need to take up that challenge amongst ourselves and do everything in our power to make it better.

Some people might say this is not my battle to fight, but I will stand by it no matter what. As a future politician, I can confirm that I'm staying informed and taught. I can affirm that I will not wait for an alteration to happen. I will always try my best to find a solution. I cannot wait to stand behind my people and treat them with the respect they deserve. To back them up with the integrity that they have earned. I will never allow more homicides or anything like this to ever happen again.

I promise to stand by this movement. I guarantee to speak up for others when I need to. I'm committed to being someone who helps our ethics progress. At the end of the day, I value morals so much over everything. I will always stand by what I think is right. And right now, we need to stand up for those people whose lives were taken away too soon. Enough is enough. Just one life lost is one life too many. No one should have to go through so much difficulty or suffering to have basic human rights. No one should have to have their life taken away because they were holding a cellphone, walking home, or jogging.

To conclude, here are some quotes from the novel "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas. It is a book inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. It is such a powerful book that I will always recommend to anyone. It touches lives and it certainly touched mine. Not only does it raise awareness, but it also leaves an influential statement in people's lives.

"People are realizing and shouting and marching and demanding. They’re not forgetting. I think that’s the most important part.”

"Everybody wants to talk about how Khalil died,’ I say. ‘But this isn’t about how Khalil died. It’s about the fact that he lived. His life mattered. Khalil lived!’ I look at the cops again. ‘You hear me? Khalil lived!"

“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”

“You can destroy wood and brick, but you can’t destroy a movement.”

Here are some links to help with the Black Lives Matter movement. Remember, you can sign these petitions, go out and protest, use your privilege, donate to the families of the victims.

1. Change.org

2. Black Lives Matter

3. Yes Magazine

Additionally, Finimpact posted a list to support and help small black-owned businesses. You can find them here: https://www.finimpact.com/blacklivesmatter-support-black-owned-small-businesses/

George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Stephon Clark, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Trayvon Martin, Ahmuad Arbery, Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman, Myra Thompson, Walter Scott, Eric Harris, Tony Robinson, Rumain Brisbon, Laquan McDonald, Michael Brown JR, rest easy. This is for you. We see you. We hear you. We stand by you.

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Marta Fernández

Marta Fernández is a high school junior currently residing in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As a young teenager, she has aspired to become an activist. Her ambition is what individualizes her as a person.


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