This Changes Everything: Students Wake Up to Injustice

The+streets+of+downtown+State+College+are+filled+with+protestors+on+June+7th%2C+2020.+People+from+across+town+show+up+with+masks%2C+signs%2C+and+food+to+support+Black+Lives+Matter+and+join+the+fight+for+justice.

Photo courtesy of Caroline Simon

The streets of downtown State College are filled with protestors on June 7th, 2020. People from across town show up with masks, signs, and food to support Black Lives Matter and join the fight for justice.

Miranda Julia Marks, Staff Writer

These last few months have felt wildly chaotic and almost hallucinatory. The daily lifestyle that we once took for granted turned into hours on Zoom, isolation from the rest of the world, and a lot of time to sit and think. The Trump administration’s response to the pandemic has warranted difficult questions about healthcare, the economy, and Trump’s competence. Black Lives Matter protests have swept the country in response to the horrifying murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others. Over quarantine, many of us were exposed to the harsh realities of our country’s fundamentally racist and classist institutions for the first time. 

But what came of it? A call for the most privileged among us to wake up and take action. 

Delta sophomore Parker Storm attended a private Christian school for years and has been surrounded by whiteness her entire life. “I was spoon-fed lies for so long,” Storm said. “I grew up with this underlying racism, and I am still unlearning the things I was taught.” This year, Storm abandoned the beliefs of her conservative family and got into the streets to fight for Black lives. “At first, I felt empathy for the officers and uncomfortable with the term ‘ACAB’ (All Cops Are Bastards). My peers helped me understand that it’s not about the character or personality of a police officer; it’s about fighting the system.” Consequently, the focus of Storm’s empathy shifted. “I thought to myself, if my child was unjustly murdered, I’d do anything I could to bring them justice.” 

An important part of activism and advocacy is making sure the correct information is being spread. Delta junior Lucy Snyder has been rethinking how she gets her news. “Social media makes it easy to just trust what people say and spread incorrect information. It took me a long time to understand the importance of doing your own research and fact-checking before you post.” Snyder never used to question what her family and friends told her. “I wasn’t educated enough to disagree,” she said. “Quarantine gave me the opportunity to do research and develop my own opinions. Now I’m not afraid to think differently.”

Olivia Biever is a sophomore at Delta, but has been homeschooled for the majority of her life. “As a small, blonde, white girl, I never knew how much privilege I had. Then June came around, and the whole world’s focus shifted to the Black Lives Matter movement. George Floyd’s death did not create the movement, but it made everyone listen. It made me realize how much I did not know.” The Black Lives Matter movement has taught Biever some important steps in becoming an ally, “Listen to people with different life experiences from you. Learn their stories and struggles. Educate yourself through documentaries, articles, movies, and books. Talk to your racist family members and friends. If your town or city is having a protest or meeting, online or in-person, it is so important to show up.” Biever is now committed to putting as much time and energy into activism as she can by attending protests, sharing resources on social media, donating money, and continuing to educate herself and her family. 

Over quarantine, many SCASD students learned just how much work we still have to do in our district and our country. The world can be overwhelming and the news confusing, but we must continue to stay active and informed. BIPOC folks have been fighting for justice and equality for so long, and it’s time we all join that fight. “What I’ve learned is that activism never stops,” Storm said. “You can never fall into a place where it does stop, because then what are you fighting for?”

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