• Factivists

Black Lives Matter: A History

Nicole Lojano, 13-year-old activist and aspiring changemaker, studies the plight of Black Americans throughout history. While the slave trade has been abolished, white supremacy remains rife, and ethnic minorities remain victims of systematic oppression. Such issues have been particularly highlighted by the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd . This article discusses how the Jim Crow Laws of the 19th and 20th century have shaped the world around us, as the Black community are constantly fighting an inherently oppressive system.

As many will have heard or seen, millions are protesting for Black lives; some riots have even occurred. The protesting and riots started happening on May 25th: the day an innocent black man named George Floyd was killed by a police officer. At first, he did not receive justice, although the four officers involved in his death have since been fired and charged for their part in 2nd degree murder. Many people endorse the #NoJusticeNoPeace motto, while others believe in peaceful protesting. The riots and protesting that have been taking place are not the start of something new: it's the start of putting an end to racism.

George Floyd’s death was not a wake up call, as police brutality has been occurring for a long time. Yet, the issue is not only police brutality - it's the way Black people were treated long ago. Black people were enslaved; they were forced to do long hours of labor everyday. If they were caught trying to escape, they were whipped until they bled; if they didn't do their jobs well or fast enough, they were whipped; if they were caught trying to learn to read or write, they were whipped. But, just like police brutality, this is not the only form of abuse the Black community has faced.

In the 19th century, white Americans did not want the black population to have power, so they created ¨Black codes”, which minimized the power Black people could have. When the 14th amendment was passed, most black codes were made illegal, as it stated that Black Americans should receive equal treatment. And yet, still, white people didn't accept Black people in their society, so they created Jim Crow Laws, which enforced segregation. As not to breach the 14th amendment, the people justified their actions with the saying ¨separate but equal ¨. Yet, society was not equal because white people got better bathrooms, better water fountains, and better schools. Black Americans couldn't go to the same school, the same hospital,the same bathroom, the same restaurant,the same church,the same prison, or even the same cemetery as white people. They even created laws to prevent black and white people from getting married.

Black people have come a long way in the fight against discrimination and racism. They are strong and they are fighters; they have endured so much, and are still standing. Let's change the world we live in for the better. Let us all come together, let there be no difference between any race. Let the racism that still exists in this world come to an end. Let the Black community be treated equally as any other race. Let us seek justice for all of the innocent Black lives that were cruelly taken away by police brutality, or any other injustices. In order to make a change in this world, we have to accept and correct the mistakes of the past. #Blacklivesmatter

credit: Voice of America

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