What Ferguson Means For Us


By Tanya Calvin

Editorials Editor

There are two words that describe America’s current state. The first is fear. The same fear that has been hiding in the back of every black person’s mind since the 1960s has come back with full force. The black citizens of America are fighting a war; again. The headlines aren’t just about Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown, they’re about a whole population of colored people that cannot use its voice without being showered with violence. Tear gas, curfews, National Guard intervention, unclear evidence, silent politicians, and an entire race fearing the authorities; make no mistake, what happened in Ferguson has happened before. That’s where our fear really stems from: the idea that this is going to keep happening, that we’re going to have to keep fighting this war as long as we continue to live here.

But since when do we live in a country that requires silence for safety? The friends and family of anyone who has been wrongfully killed by a police officer have a right to demand justice. The black boy who is afraid of the cop on the corner who shoves him whenever he walks by has a right to say so. The Latin student who is black and drives a nice car doesn’t deserve to be pulled over just because a cop thinks he stole it, or followed around in a store that someone thinks is too expensive for him, or stopped and questioned on the train late at night when he’s coming home after staying at school for four extra hours.

He should not be treated any differently than any white student at Latin would be treated outside of the building’s walls. It seems obvious, doesn’t it? But some of us forget far too often the struggle that our own peers face every day. As black students in such a loving community, we don’t always talk about it because it’s more difficult than you can imagine, but we’re speaking up now and we need everyone’s help.

Right now, no one, black or white has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, not as long as the government continues to treat us this way. So, here’s my second word: accountability.

We have a responsibility to stand up for each other and hold each other up as those who are too afraid of change keep trying to push us down. The worst thing you could do at a time like this is to stay silent. Don’t be a bystander to the awful treatment of your fellow citizens- not just those in Missouri, but those who you pass in the hallways every day as well. Educate yourself, speak up, post a tweet, write a letter, tell someone who is silent to wake up. This is about more than just a few confrontations with police officers. This is about basic human rights.

This is our country, let’s honor each other by making it a safe place for everyone to live.

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