By: Maria Jaramillo
Bolour/Carl Immigration Group, APC
I was sixteen when Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice were killed by police. Eighteen when I first saw the video where Eric Garner was choked by police. Nineteen and twenty, when I heard about Sandra Bland and Philando Castile's deaths. This year alone, I have witnessed the traumatic deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arberry, George Floyd, and many more Black lives.
With this history, it is hard to be optimistic about the possibility of systemic change within law enforcement and the country- but I am. Seven years ago, saying “Black lives matter” was a radical statement. Today, all fifty states have participated in a Black Lives Matter protest. The movement has even spread beyond the confines of the U.S to Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Today, I am especially appreciative of cameras and social media. We can now arm ourselves with cameras and expose the real-life atrocities that many are blind to. We can also inform, educate, and organize through social media. We can even make change through signing petitions and donating to organizations or to people directly.
It may be hard to believe that people are calling for radical change in a country where relics of colonialism and slavery remain very much intact. Many Americans are well aware that their country's past still affects racial tensions to this day. Because of this, statues of Christopher Columbus and Confederate soldiers are either being defaced or toppled across the nation. We are also seeing the call to defund or abolish the police. The future is uncertain, but it is definitely looking brighter.
As a Latina, I am an outspoken supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement because I know that all lives cannot matter if Black lives do not. It is concerning that in 2020 we have to go out and protest against police brutality against Black individuals, let alone protest during a pandemic. But the fight will go on until the injustices against Black lives around the world is put to a stop. I urge those who want to meaningfully participate in the movement to follow the guidance of Black leaders and organizers. I also urge you not to forget about the Black women and LGBTQ individuals who are not always centered in these discussions.