Allison Wernick ’21

‘Black Lives Matter’ – a statement that many of us see plastered throughout social media. We see the post, like it, share it, and then feel like we’ve done everything we can. I felt that way too for a little bit. But after a while, I began feeling like that wasn’t enough. I knew that there had to be more I could do to help than simply sharing a post online. I began researching my options. I saw that I could sign petitions, email police departments, or even donate money to help protests. Yet, even after doing all of those things, I still felt like my voice had yet to be heard. Instead of donating money to protests, I wanted to actually participate in one. I wanted the entire world to hear my voice and the voice of thousands of other people uniting against racism. 

One night, as I was looking at Snapchat, I saw that one of my friends posted a PSA about a protest that would be happening in my area. Many emotions floated throughout my mind. I instantly became excited, knowing that I would actually get the chance to show how infuriated I am with the world. However, I also felt scared. I had seen so many videos of the police throwing tear gas and shooting rubber bullets at peaceful protesters. But there was no way I would let those fears stop me. I knew that the racism in our country and in many parts of the world is so disgustingly unacceptable and I had to do something. I had to fight for what I truly believe in; equality for all and the end of prejudice towards black people. 

An action shot from the protest in New York

A few days after I saw the PSA, I arrived at the Monroe Ponds – the place where the protest would happen. I became nervous after seeing multiple police cars, but I stood my ground. My mom had accompanied me to the protest, and after seeing thousands of people there, we both became teary-eyed. We knew we had made the right decision in protesting. We had to stand up for people that had been oppressed for so many years. Everyone gathered at one end of the pond and my eyes couldn’t stop scanning the crowd. It was so diverse and there were so many amazing signs. One of the most powerful signs read “If you think your mask makes it hard to breathe, imagine being black in America.” This statement really tells it like it is, black people are so oppressed that they can barely breathe. The entire group started walking around the pond and chanting things like “I can’t breathe!” or “No justice, no peace!” After circling the entire pond, we all gathered in one area and listened to people make inspiring speeches about the unacceptable racism in America. 

Going to this protest was such an eye-opening experience. It showed me thousands of people who also believe that racism in this country is unacceptable and change is needed. It was amazing to feel unified with so many other people all fighting for such an amazing cause. If you’re unsure about whether you should protest, I say, definitely do it! Use your voice to make a change!

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