Because it’s time to take action.
By Zephanie Battle, Texas State University
It seems that every week a black person is wrongfully accused and killed by the police.
Oftentimes the harsh reality of modern life can be scary to think about, especially when it seems to be going on all around you. Sometimes, it can seem like there is nothing you can do to stop injustice from happening.
Despite the feeling of hopelessness, groups across the country continue to fight inequality. Acts of protest against discrimination, such as student athletes refusing to stand during the national anthem, prove that many young people still feel that what is happening must come to an end. Young black college students and organizations have started to participate in the protest in ways that are not only voicing their frustrations, but are also allowing allies to get involved in the movement.
If you have thought getting about getting active in the BLM movement on your campus, here is how you can start.
Do Your Research
If negative comments on Twitter and Facebook are your only source of information about BLM, you won’t have a clear idea of what the cause is. The #BlackLivesMatter movement was created to protest violence against black people. Despite its specific agenda, BLM is an international activist movement. In other words, even though you might not be black, people from all races, sexes, genders, religions and sexual orientations are encouraged to support and participate in the cause.
The organization is not a hate group toward other races, nor does it limit its support to the lives of black people, as some would think. In a recent survey by the “Huffington Post,” data showed that more young, white adults support the Black Lives Matter movement than ever before. If you’re fighting for the same cause, who cares who you are or what you look like?
Find/Create a BLM Group or Club on Campus
Because the issue of racial discrimination is as relevant to this generation as desegregation was to civil rights activists of the ‘50s, many college campuses have made provisions to instill diversity and equality on campus. Sadly, the word “try” is not used lightly; not everyone believes in equal rights regardless of skin color.
Consequently, black-centered organizations that resemble BLM, such as the Black Student Alliance, National Black Justice Commission, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and many others, are created.
Ideally, these black orgs are founded by and for black people to ensure equality and eliminate racial discrimination.
If you’re interested in supporting such a cause, be on the lookout for student involvement fairs where you can sign up for such organizations.
While not losing sight of the reason they were created, black orgs commit to keeping up with current issues that are happening in the world, not only about violence against black people, but about the economy, politics, foreign affairs and other pressing topics.
Get Involved and Get Active
Now that you’ve done your research and have found the right organization, don’t just sit in the back of all the meetings—speak up and stand out; after all, the reason you joined that org in the first place was to fight for a cause. Most BLM-supported groups on campus will take action on certain racial and discriminatory issues with peaceful, sometimes silent, protests.
For example, on September 24th, “The Houston Chronicle” reported that at their first home game, Texas State University black orgs chose to sit and raise their fists during the national anthem in order to call attention to the injustice of racial violence. “USA Today” reported a protest in November 2015 in Claremont, California, in which a group of over 100 students, led by a group called “CMCers of Color,” protested the lack of support they believe is given to students of color. At the University of Mississippi, students held a sit-in for several hours in the main administration building to demand a reaction from the university in response to a student’s racist tweet about the protests in Charlotte, N.C., over the police shooting of a black man. These days, it’s not enough to have an opinion; you have to find a way to make others hear it.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement is in full effect, and if the mistreatment of black people continues, it will never cease to be the most tweeted about hashtag on social media.
On behalf of those who have had their lives taken without a chance to speak for themselves, take a stand. Fight for what is right. You may not be able to make a difference on your own, but if you’re the only one who wants to fight injustice, then it starts with you.