BLM: Not a Moment but a Movement

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As high schoolers living in this day and age, it is nearly impossible for us to go about our lives without encountering the words Black Lives Matter. In many instances (at least at Friends), this phrase is acknowledged, agreed with, and forgotten until the next time someone brings it up. So what does Black Lives Matter mean? Well, it serves as a reminder of the injustices that continue to affect Black citizens in our communities. Whether those injustices appear in the form of racial profiling during a job interview or the murder of a man as he reaches for his ID, the Black Lives Matter movement has proved to be effective at starting a wave of awareness and support behind the Black community in America.

The Black Lives Matter movement thrives through its acceptance of every group in the Black community.One foundational pillar of the movement, which gains it so much support, is the “collective value” of every voice in the movement “regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status or location” (blacklivesmatter.com). The movement’s influence on social media also helps it gain allies throughout numerous other communities.

Our school has also been touched by the movement. Starting in the 2014-15 school year, Friends students took part in peaceful protests following the deaths of Eric Garner and Freddie Gray at the hands of law enforcement officials. Student involvement has continued with the William Penn Fellows’ participation in the Homewood Meeting Black Lives Matter peace vigil, which is held every Friday evening, and with the Black Awareness Club’s collections and posters.

The Black Awareness Club has played a crucial role in keeping our community informed about the Black Lives Matter movement, but some feel that we can do more. In a recent interview, co-head of the BAC, Delia Hatten, stated that “We [our school community] try our best to show support, but we have a long ways to go. We speak that we care, but we don’t act enough.” Delia’s opinion is one that many in our community share. Students are educated about the movement during convocation days and collection presentations, but in a short time these topics become a thing of the past. We get caught up in our own lives, and even conversations about the the issues brought forward by the movement stop happening. In a classroom setting, Delia has sometimes felt that her opinion only matters when topics such as slavery or the Civil Rights movement arise. Perhaps the most powerful part of my interview with Delia was when I asked her, “When will Black lives matter?” She responded through her laugh with a smile. “You tell me. They matter to me, and I’m hoping they will matter soon.”

The movement benefits from the support the Friends administration gives, but it will still take work from everyone in our community to bring true equality to everyone. Hopefully the work of the Black Lives Matter movement will continue to make progress in our society and the need for its existence will become irrelevant.

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BLM: Not a Moment but a Movement