Imagine having a typical day and you learn that there are senseless murders happening within our country. You learn someone such as Ahmaud Arbery, killed just by taking a run in their neighborhood. You learned that someone, such as Breonna Taylor, was shot during her sleep. You begin to think, “that could have simply been me”. Imagine what it is like having to decide whether it is safe for you to wear a black sweatshirt when you are out in public or will you be internally frustrated that people may think you are involved in illegal activity or that your appearance generates fear. Imagine what it is like if you had to remember to hold the receipt in your hand each time you leave Walgreens so people looking at you are aware that you are a paying customer and you did not steal anything.
I am a graduate student at a predominantly White institution located within a predominantly White neighborhood. With the tragic events I just described that took place within our country this year, these are all the things I have to consider before I leave my house each day. These are things that I have to think about as I am selecting my attire or leaving my house to grocery shop.
I want people to be aware of the recent events of systemic racism and how they cause stress and fear for Black people. I want people to particularly be aware of how if they do not use their voice to express that racism is not okay, that they perpetuate racism by tolerating it. I want people to know that I hope people can muster up enough courage to never give up leading people out of the ignorance that perpetuates racism. I want people to know that advocating for the rights of others, including their identities, are important. If this summer was the first time you are taking action an action to Black issues and being aware of racism, then I want you to respect that is where you are in your evolution.