Although we have a global pandemic among us, with deaths surrounding our communities, our society has been impacted by a stronger, longer-lasting virus: racism. We’ve seen it for the longest time but still haven’t been able to accomplish an equal society for people of color. So, what needs to be done? How can we change the way the police encounter people of color? How can we create a successfully equal world?
Personally, I think the most important opinions and concerns rise from young adults in America. Not only are we young enough to make a change for our future, but we’re old enough to have enough experience with witnessing racism around us to form a sufficient opinion. Our generation tends to be more aggressive, and more involved. We use our voices and social media platforms to communicate messages around the world. When we believe something is wrong, we demand to be heard.
So, given the recent situation concerning the murder of George Floyd, the topic of racism in America has overwhelmingly impacted everyone’s social media feeds. We are deeply hurt by seeing someone of such high authority use their power to take a life. This needs to change.
Instead of writing a whole article on just my opinions on the topic, Ive decided to gather subtle quotes from 25 young adults in New York. I feel that we have the strongest voices in our society and with the proper audience, we could successfully change the way our society performs.
In order to avoid any bias from gender, race, sex, etc… I’ve decided to only incorporate the ages of each participant that provided the quote. Additionally, to emphasize the seriousness, tragedy, and heartbreak that surrounds racism, I’ve dedicated each quote to an individual that lost their life to potentially race-related police encounters. These lives can not be forgotten. These voices will not go unheard.
Each Individual that lost their life unjustly are listed next to the volunteer’s age, along with a subtle excerpt on their story. This concept of placing an unheard voice or story, with a hopefully well-heard voice and concern, forces readers to associate these stories with the carefully observed opinions on racism in America by young adults. Thus, potentially allowing readers to focus on the main idea; that Racism continues to play an active role in everyday life for many people. When enough people realize the severity of the issue, communities or societies can unite and fight for the changes needed to ensure true equality for all races.
Age 18: In memory of the 18 year old, Michael Brown Jr., who was fatally shot by a white police officer in 2014.
“As a community, we have so much work to do to not only protect minorities from racist bigots, but to also, in some way, right the wrongs already done to minorities, especially blacks. That being said, I am so grateful to be a part of a generation that is, and will continue, making a change. We are the first generation of our kind. We have the most access and influence than any other generation before us. The activists of the 60s and 70s have laid the path for us and, as sad as it is to have taken this long, this generation of the 2020s is taking the mantle and fighting for change; whether that be blogs, TikToks, Instagram posts, or writing and calling to representatives. While this is a step towards the right direction, those who are silent and complacent with the system in place need to step up. Silence kills. Complacency kills. People need to have those tough conversations and be uncomfortable because dying due to your skin tone is uncomfortable. Changes need to be made for advancement to happen and people to be safe.”
Age 19: In memory of the 19 year old, De’Von Bailey, who was shot three times in the back and once in the arm by police. They claimed he was a threat; however, his family and the body- cam footage show otherwise.
“We are all part of a race, the human race. We all bleed blood, we breathe the same air, we have the same anatomy. We are all the same. Majority of us choose love while the minority chooses hate. When there is a problem with one of us, our duty is to stand up for each other. Not just sit and watch.”
Age 21: In memory of the 21 year old, Sean Reed, who was fatally shot by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police and “mocked” afterwards.
“I grew up sheltered,” thats what I tell myself and everyone I meet. The reason why I say that I grew up sheltered is because I grew up in a community that looked out for one another. They say that Jamaicans are the most violent set of people you would meet. That’s simply not true. Anyone would become violent when the words they say falls on deaf ears. I didn’t know what racism was until I came to America and even then I didn’t think it would affect me. But it does affect me and everyone around me as well. Why are black people the ones of the most hated group? What did we do? Is it that we asked to live or because of the way we’re built? I watch videos from the “safety” of my home, but still think about my brother who drives all over for work or my sister that just left the house. I am not the oldest or the youngest, I am not their mother, yet I feel the weight of losing them on my shoulder. I watch videos and I read comments and wonder, “why?”. I should not have to change who I am to live. Someone said, “being black is the bravest thing anyone can do.”, and that hurt.”
Age 17: In memory of the 17 year old, Laquan McDonald, who was fatally shot by a Chicago Police officer in 2014. The Dash- cam footage was enough to charge the officer.
“It’s sad that police feel because they wear a uniform, they can do whatever they want and treat black people with disrespect.”
Age 18: In memory of the 18 year old, Dorian Murrell, who was fatally wounded amid Indianapolis riots. He later died in the hospital.
“We need to educate ourselves and fight for what is simply morally correct. The fact that that isn’t obvious to some people is terrifying and needs to be changed. We need change. We deserve change. We demand change.”
Age 17: In memory of the 17 year old, Antwon Rose II, who was claimed to be in a vehicle that matched one involved in a shooting. He ran, and was shot several times.
“From what I’ve heard, many people think that the black lives matter protest should be labeled as a terrorist group. The riots, the looting, and the fires are made out of anger. Anger from being oppressed for years by people who see blacks as animals. Anger from discrimination because our skin color is seen as a threat, and anger because our innocence does not seem like enough to them. Protesters should be angry that blacks have been killed over false accusations. It’s messed up to see blacks and other minorities, including young teenagers, to have to suffer from a cops hatred. The police are supposed to help us and better the lives of citizens; Not destroy families who have the burden of losing a loved one from what people call “a misunderstanding.” I believe that there needs to be more laws to help get justice for the innocent lives that were taken by an officer. We need to do better as a community and a nation to fight for equality and end racism.”
Age 18: In memory of the 18 year old, Ty’Rese West, who was shot and killed on his bike for “ignoring the officer’s commands” in Mount Pleasant.
“This world is cruel but only to a certain extent and unfortunately, to certain groups of people. Is it really the world that is cruel or the way that society is built? Do we really even have opportunities in this nation? Many will say yes, but what are opportunities if you can’t speak your mind without getting racially profiled based on your origin or the color of your skin?! This country is a mixing pot and like a mixing pot, there are many spices and flavors within it! Does it really matter where you come from? We are all human!!”
Age 20: In memory of the 20 year old, Brandon Webber, who was shot 16 times by U.S. Marshals. Although police couldn’t help the family with more evidence to support the investigation, they provided the mother with family counseling organizations.
“The ignorance and lack for the value of human life in America is disturbing and I hope our generation can make a permanent change to how we treat each other.”
Age 17: In memory of the 17 year old, Trayvon Martin, who was described as a “suspicious person” by the neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman. Although George was instructed to not approach Trayvon, he disregarded and opened fire anyways.
“The justice system has always rooted in the oppression of colored people. YES, all lives matter, but it’s the fact that we have to prioritize the people who have been going through oppression for hundreds of years. Not all cops are bad, not all white people are racist. But the voices of the minority need to be heard. If you are tired of people constantly posting about #Blacklivesmatter, imagine the black, Hispanic, or any other minority who have to wake up and deal with this discrimination and this fear. I thank God that there are people out there that support us and hear us, no matter if they are white or any other race. In Minneapolis, there are people getting paid to frame these people as protestors. You see the difference in how people are treated because of their color? Hear US!”
Age 18: In memory of the 22 year old, Terrance Franklin, who was shot while trying to surrender. The family sued the police officers for wrongful death.
“Racism is taught in society, its not automatically known. It is a learned behavior. Racism is a disease that needs to stop spreading. You fight for what you believe in and you fight for equality in all races.”
Age 17: In memory of the 12 year old, Tamir Rice, who was carrying a replica toy Airsoft gun and was shot by the Officer Loehmann almost immediately after arriving on the scene.
“What people want is to be treated with fairness, respect, and acceptance.”
Age 18: In memory of the 23 year old, Miles Hall, who suffered from mental illness and was shot by the Walnut Creek Police for “behaving erratically.”
“Racism is fueled by fear, hate, governments, systems, capitalism and most importantly, ignorance. We have to stay educated, self-aware and be willing to admit our flaws. No one knows everything. “Wokeness” is a spectrum. Everyone is ignorant about something. We have to be open to hear what people have to say and be willing to educate ourselves CONSTANTLY. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Read and research before you react and repost. Be mindful and love one another. Joe Rogan once said “What if the secret to happiness is you treating everyone as if they are you living another life?” Remember this next time you gaslight a person of color when they tell you how racism and white privilege exists. Remember this the next time you say #AllLivesMatter. If all lives matter, FIGHT FOR ALL LIVES! Fight for Equality for all. Fight for Black Lives. Fight for Brown Lives. Fight for us.. please!”
Age 17: In memory of the 26 year old schizophrenic, Jamarion Robinson, who was shot 76 times during arrest. The DOJ has been accused of systematically denying the DA the opportunity to receive all information including evidence and documents regarding the investigation.
“In regards to what’s happening right now with racism in America, it is truly disgusting and disheartening to watch this all happen in front of me. It’s mind boggling to think that in 2020, minorities have to continuously suffer like they did throughout history! Everyday, more and more people are losing their lives due to the incompetence and terrifying views of others that they believe to be morally correct. My hope for the future, is by coming together as a nation, we can help build and restore some humanity and compassion, as well as creating equality for all generations to come.”
Age 16: In memory of 23 year old, Darius Tarver, who was having a mental health crisis at the time that he was killed. When he didn’t drop the knife and frying pan in his hands, the cop tased him. After stumbling forwards due to the taser shot, he was shot once. Eventually, after getting up, he was shot twice more and was pronounced dead. The body-cam seemingly “contradicts” the police’s story.
“I know I may only be 16 , but I have noticed a lot of opression towards people of color. If people were all the same, the world would be boring. I am going to use my voice for the people who cannot have their voices heard anymore. Not all lives matter until black lives matter.”
Age 19: In memory of the 26 year old, Anthony Hill, a veteran of the United States Air Force who suffered from PTSD. He was naked and unarmed when he was shot by officer Olsen in Georgia, 2015.
“Being black in America has now turned into something that we (black people) fear for our brothers, fathers, uncles, nephews, grandfathers, friends, etc.”
Age 17: In memory of the 24 year old father, Ryan Twyman, who was shot 34 times while unarmed and in a parked vehicle. “They came there with the intention to kill.”
“I think one of the truest that I’ve read recently in regard to what’s been going on with the system is that people are not born with hate in their hearts, that hatred is taught to them. And the fact that it is now 2020, and these are the examples that we are giving our youth? How can we expect any different! All that our youth are seeing is discrimination, racism and hatred. At this rate, we will never see an improvement. Unless we make a change, this will continue on and on for the rest of history. And it is an absolutely sickening thought.”
Age 19: In memory of the 21 year old, Jimmy Atchison, who was wanted for a crime. He was cornered in a closet by four officers who gave conflicting instructions. His hands were up as he came out, but police claim he had a weapon; although nobody saw him with a gun that day. He was then fatally shot.
“White little boys in America learn: Look both ways before crossing the street & Be respectful to cops.
Black little boys in America learn: Never wear a hoodie out after dark. If a cop approaches you in your car, immediately put your hands on the dash board. Make sure you tell the cop when you are reaching for your driver’s license and or registration. Never stare at a white woman. Do not wear a wifebeater and or gold chains if blasting “hood” music in your vehicle. If a cop is speaking to you, cooperate no matter what.”
Age 18: In memory of the 21 year old, Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. While possessing a license to carry, he pulled out his gun to help people escape from a shooting at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, Alabama. Then, a Hoover police officer working for mall security shot him three times from behind.
“This world is an unequally dangerous place. The black community continues to suffer from our failure to ensure equality. People are being targeted and murdered because of the color of their skin. Do not allow yourself to become desensitized. Please use your privilege to be part of the solution, not the problem. Demand change.”
Age 21: In memory of the 20 year old, Wendell Allen, who was awakened to the front door being broken down. He was unarmed when going downstairs to see what was going on, and was shot in the chest coming down the stairwell. “The grand jury indicted the officer with manslaughter after he failed to appear in court to enter a guilty plea for negligent homicide.”
“Unity is impossible, because racism is an obstacle.”
Age 17: In memory of the 23 year old, Keith Childress, who police claim was wanted for attempted murder. The police thought his cell phone was a weapon, and fatally shot him five times in broad daylight in Las Vegas.
“You can’t make America great again if it was never great in the first place.”
Age 23: In memory of a mother, Bettie Jones, who was “accidentally” shot to death when opening her front door for the police. Her daughter found her dead, and claim the police told her, “her mother was dead and she needed to ‘get over it.’”
“You cannot speak on something your race does not face.”
Age 18: In memory of the 24 year old, Jamar Clark, who witnesses claim was shot while handcuffed. Police say otherwise.
“People of color have been victim to the United State’s corrupt and racist legal system. I stand in solidarity with my brothers and sisters and one day we will be the change.”
Age 18: In memory of Michael Lee Marshall, “who was suffering from a psychotic episode”, and died in 2015 after he aspirated on vomit while being restrained face-down for more than 10 minutes by multiple deputies. The death was a ruled a homicide.
“With everything going on right now, the pandemic, and other things causing people distress, its no real surprise that the government and police have found a way to subjectively and continuously cause further harm to the black community. The killing of George Floyd has caused a well deserved beginning of riots and uproar in the black community that has been held in for too long. The disgusting, vile treatment of POC, especially black people, has been too widely accepted for this to be a surprise. Yet when people finally start fighting violence with violence, its a surprise to everyone. I’m not a person who believes in violence, but when all the treatment that the black community has received from cops, the government, other communities and people, is neglectful, violent, and harmful, people will stand their ground when pushed to the brink. I believe white supremacy and racism in America has finally gone to the extent of pushing black people to the point of no return. We will fight for out rights, we will fight for our lives, we will fight for what is just. A revolution is coming, and nobody, including white supremacists, will be able to stop it this time.”
Age 17: In memory of the 19 year old, Keith McLeod, who was reportedly trying to pass off a fake prescription at a pharmacy. Officers located him and chased him into a parking lot where multiple shots were fired, leaving the unarmed, male dead.
“What we are facing as a nation right now is unacceptable. No one should walk the streets and be afraid that someone will attack them because of their skin color. Change starts with understanding, then we can begin to come together as one.”
Age 18: In memory of the 46 year old, George Floyd, who was encountered for supposedly using a counterfeit $20 bill. An officer kneeled on him for multiple minutes while he claimed, “I can’t breathe!” He passed away while the officer was on top of him… which was until the ambulance arrived.
“The fact that another person has to die in order for change to happen is appalling. The Black community deserves their voice to be heard. I stand with them!!”
Please keep in mind that these 25 young adults have expressed their unique, individual opinions on the topic of racism based on their knowledge and experience. These opinions are not up for debate and are greatly appreciated for being shared on this public platform.
We Demand A Change. #BLM #SayTheirNames
⁃ Michael Brown Jr.
⁃ De’Von Bailey
⁃ Sean Reed
⁃ Laquan McDonald
⁃ Dorian Murrell
⁃ Antwon Rose II
⁃ Ty’Rese West
⁃ Brandon Webber
⁃ Trayvon Martin
⁃ Terrance Franklin
⁃ Tamir Rice
⁃ Miles Hall
⁃ Jamarion Robinson
⁃ Darius Tarver
⁃ Anthony Hill
⁃ Ryan Twyman
⁃ Jimmy Atchison
⁃ Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr.
⁃ Wendell Allen
⁃ Keith Childress
⁃ Bettie Jones
⁃ Jamar Clark
⁃ Michael Lee Marshall
⁃ Keith McLeod
⁃ George Floyd
Staying silent is not an option anymore. No matter what race, we are all obligated to fight for equality. Just because it doesn’t affect you, does not mean it’s not worth fighting for. We have a responsibility as the younger generation to support one another to create a successful and equal future.
Thanks for reading! & Thank you to all the young adults who participated in sharing their thoughts to promote a better future! Feel free to email me with any comments, concerns, or questions on how you can help be part of the change!
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