Black Lives Matter Rally: San Jose, Ca. (Ashley Wells)
Black Lives Matter Rally: San Jose, Ca.

Ashley Wells

Why we are still marching for justice

June 10, 2020

I was one of many veins pumping justice into the heart of our community, as I walked with Black Lives Matter protesters screaming, “We … can’t … breathe!”

George Floyd is not the reason, but today as hundreds of people walked in solidarity, he is the cause.

Floyd, who was murdered in Minneapolis by a police officer kneeling on his neck, has sparked a massive upsurge in the Black Lives Matter movement.

Many of those in attendance had been to other protests for different causes but today in our own way, we felt connected to the education that comes with changing the way we view racism in America.

Watching the streets swell with faces of every color was intoxicating and presented a new narrative; this is not blacks against whites – this is humankind against racism.

As a person of color, it feels good to see people attending these protests and being active on social media.

However, I do want to know how many of these large corporations that are speaking out against racial bias, have people of color on their executive boards or in their actual lives at all.

The Bay Area joins millions of people across the world in speaking out against police brutality and changes they wish to see within their own communities.

These peaceful protests are a good start. Each street light we pass gains a few more dozen people. We are packed in between the sidewalks at this point.

Some people are crying, others screaming – plenty holding signs and wiping sweat from under their COVID-19 masks. We’re all here together.

I saw a little girl, screaming “no justice, no peace” with a sort of untapped rage in her eyes. I couldn’t tell if she was actually connecting with what she was saying, but it slowed things down for me.

When children are present there is always an opportunity to educate and while understanding their value in today’s world is priceless – at what cost? Many at the protest may say – at all costs!

I wondered to myself, did she see the video of George Floyd trying to catch his last breath before he died? Did she hear about what happened to Ahmaud Arbery or Breonna Taylor?

What type of conversations put this type of rage in her little brown eyes? There were a number of children at each of the protests I experienced.

When I saw the protest on the news the next day, it was unrecognizable.

I didn’t see the marching or the speeches – didn’t catch the essence of unity that bled through the streets we walked on, I saw people burning buildings and looting stores.

I saw people peeling back our peaceful chants and filling the gaps with rage.

It was almost hard to believe that those same riots derived from the completely peaceful march that had happened prior.

However, this movement has shown me that sometimes you have to rearrange the world so that you can build it back up.

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