Black Lives Matter


The protest in downtown Grand Rapids on May 30.

Camila Maldonado Pena, Editor-In-Chief

Black Lives Matter. This motto has been spread all over the US for the past week or so because of the death of George Floyd, an African American male who was killed by a cop in Minneapolis. We have seen this before and nothings been done about it. It’s come to the point that people don’t want to just stand around and see another person killed. Protests have been going on all over the US, even here in our city of Grand Rapids. Amidst the tragedy of Floyd’s death, there has been an abundance of support and a movement to end this once in for all.

The riots last night were not supposed to happen; it went from a peaceful protest to something completely negative. Which made the protestors who were there for the right reasons look bad. What has our society come to? Vandalizing and creating fires to prove a point is not how we get people’s attention. Instead, we should use our words as I am and do something that doesn’t end up hurting the local business in GR or civilians themselves. This was the case for us last night where local businesses were broken into and vandalized to make a point but honestly, that’s no way to protest, that’s just using the protest to do criminal activities.

I understand that people are angry at the police for the brutality that has been endured by African Americans for as long as anyone can remember but we have to remember that there are always two sides to a story. This might sound crass for what’s going on but not all police officers are racist and inhumane, there is still hope in humanity. Good, authentic, honest cops in this world do exist. The actions that have been taken against citizens are not right but if you were a cop would you feel scared for your life? Would you do anything to make sure you got home to your family okay?

We are all to fight racism together not in violence or in vandalism but in peace and love for humanity. Everyone has a family to come home to, whether they are good or bad they are still human. As was George Floyd. Think of the Martin Luther King Jr. movement, people were arrested and harmed but did the protestors ever fight back and injure their attackers? That’s what people should think about when they decide to go to a protest because what good are we as citizens if we are brutally destroying things and hurting others. The violence and the chaos that came with the protest was not necessary and defeated the purpose of the whole event. If it’s all about police brutality why do some people think it makes them any better to do the same for a cause that will mean nothing in the end because the message is being destroyed by those who think justice is served with violence.

We as the youth of our community need to be united and support each other making sure no harm is caused to others whether you like them or not. What makes us human is the ability to feel things and to tell what’s right from wrong. So in this moment we take a stand and pick a side, but no matter what side you end up on we need to be able to show compassion and forgiveness and show them we are not animals we are civilized citizens fighting for change. Going to a protest doesn’t necessarily have to be the only way to show your support and allegiance to the cause but posting things online and writing messages like this can also have a big impact. If we inform people with facts and actual stories of what’s happening it might just give people a different perspective. Just don’t engage in those who don’t believe in the same things as you because, in the end, it’s not going to do you any good to argue. It will only cause more chaos and cause you to get angry over a reply or message that someone sends to agitate you.

There are always two sides to a story as I said before everyone is entitled to their opinion whether it’s humane or not it’s just freedom of speech. But with freedom of speech, it gives people the right to advocate for those who can’t and call those who did a wrong out. What I’m trying to say is if you’re going to protest and advocate African Americans do it for the right reasons and keep everyone safe even if it’s a police officer. Violence has never done this world any good.

As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”