The Effects of Black Lives Matter Protests on Students’ Lives

The+Effects+of+Black+Lives+Matter+Protests+on+Students%27+Lives

Samantha Como, Yearbook Co Editor-in-Chief

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement protests that were prominent in the summer have gained popularity in their effort to raise awareness of the ongoing racism and oppression that black people face every day in America. Protests have also been going on in Kansas City, which have inspired some students and teachers to take action.

The BLM movement aims to demand justice and equality for black people in America. Senior Aliyah Green explains her perspective on the movement’s mission statement.

“I think the movement wants to accomplish a sense of comfort for people of color. It wants to push for change so that people of color do not have to fear for their lives because of the color of our skin,” said Green.

Going into this school year was going to be different, not only due to the COVID-19 precautions, but also because the BLM movement that has taken place around the world and in local communities. Science teacher Megan Walker knew she had to do something different this year after seeing the BLM demonstrations going on during the summer, so she helps encourage students and teachers to speak up when they see racism occur.

“Honestly, small day-to-day things that most people let slide and things you hear people say and things that people do, don’t let it slide anymore. Speak up when you see microaggressions and different ways in which your classmates disenfranchise and speak up when you see things like that,” said Walker.

There are many different ways that senior Tamia Schiele supports the movement. She focuses on educating herself then other people, and she also sees other people support the movement by donating to the movement or signing petitions.

“First and foremost, I take the time to educate myself and do research for myself so I am not spreading misinformation. Secondly, I watched a lot of streams on YouTube where the profits made from the video are given to Black Lives Matter and Bail Projects. Lastly, I share posts on my Instagram story (that I have fact checked) to hopefully educate people,” said Schiele.

This past summer, Walker walked down the streets of the plaza holding a sign reading ‘Silence is support of injustice’ in solidarity with a peaceful BLM protest. Walker protested with a mask on and marched on the sidewalks of the plaza with other supporters while they chanted, sung, and walked for others to see the message they were trying to convey.

“From what I was a part of, there was a lot of walking and chanting. I am aware of other aspects of protests that went on that I wasn’t a part of, but it was really just very peaceful, walking, chanting, people were singing songs. It was kind of cool. I did hear of things like rubber bullets and different things being thrown, but I wasn’t present of any of that,” said Walker.

Attending protests is not the only way that someone can show their support for the movement. Green believes that protests are beneficial in spreading the movement’s message, but she was not available to go to a protest.

“I feel like protesting is pretty awesome, and if my schedule allowed me to do it, I undoubtedly would. I wanted to go to stand hand in hand with the other people there and show that BLM is united and not going away,” said Green.

Schiele has seen the BLM make a lot of progress this summer with people becoming more aware of the prejudice and discrimination that seems to go unnoticed and are not justified. Schiele has hopes of what the movement will achieve in the future.

“[The movement is pushing for] defunding the police NOT abolishing the police. The difference is I feel like far too much money goes into the police departments and other areas like education are underfunded,” said Schiele.

The BLM movement has brought awareness to different topics that many did not know about, one of which is the representation of people of color (POC). Walker hopes that teachers show their support towards movement so that POC students feel like they are supported despite their being little representation in the predominantly white school district.

“I do think that sometimes school can be a place where students of color don’t feel as accepted, especially as a school like this, where if you look around, how many teachers of color do you see? Not very many. And so [I hope they] understand that even though they may not be represented as far as staff demographics, there are still teachers who support them and believe their lives are important,” said Walker.

Green believes that protesting has greatly increased the knowledge and understanding of what the BLM have been trying to educate people about. Green is happy with the progress that the BLM movement has made this summer and is content with the awareness that people have learned about this summer.

“I’m definitely happy about the progress that the movement as a whole has made. BLM has been a thing for so long, but it finally isn’t a seasonal term that is trendy then dies out, and it is because the people are tired of the evil, and I think that is progress,” said Green.

Not only have the protests been going around America after the death of George Floyd, but they have spread across the world, including the Raymore-Peculiar community. Some students and staff took the opportunity to go to protests and further emphasize the message of the Black Lives Matter movement, which is to educate people on the injustices of people of color experience on a daily basis in hopes that it will help bring change.