Yahnell Judah and Marie-France Desir are alumni of the FIU Honors College. They both travelled to France in 2019 as part of the course “Art, War, & Human Rights.”
These are their voices.
It’s a tragedy that some people are privileged enough to view the current events as an isolated outburst instead of a reaction to years of fearing if next time someone calls the police on my father for walking in the park, he won’t come home. If you are tired of the riots and media coverage over the past week, imagine how tiring it is to live in fear of the ones who promised “to protect and to serve,” every single day of your life. It is exhausting. It is exhausting to know that a black man can be killed over a twenty dollar bill and the leaders of this nation would rather watch the people mourn and the country burn before simply arresting four of their own.
We and millions of others in our community cry at the death of our brothers and sisters, murdered by police officers at rates 2.5 times that of their white counterparts and never given justice. We understand you might want to use “love and words” as forms of protest but black people have tried that for hundreds of years and no one has listened, if anything they lose their job for it (Kapernick), die behind it (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and many more) or die for doing absolutely nothing (George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed and hundreds more). An un-oppressed population cannot tell an oppressed population how to react to oppression so please, if you consider yourself an ally to the cause, do not suggest peaceful protests as a new idea; it ignores the fact that the voices of the black community often fall on deaf ears.
“A riot is the language of the unheard.” – MLK, Jr. Riots and looting will always be effective forms of protest against a society that values material things over human lives. Any history book can confirm this. Broken windows can be repaired and merchandise can be replaced, human lives on the other hand, cannot. Looting property is not nearly as violent an act as holding your knee on someone’s neck for several minutes while they cry to the heavens for their life. If the protests are the only thing you’re complaining about, please question your morals and consider the fact that Chauvin the Murderer was not even arrested until a viral and explicit video was released, social media outrage occurred and protests started hurting a few pockets. A lot of these major companies exploit minority communities anyway by paying slave wages, profiting off of black culture and corporate crime (including minimum wage violations, rest break violations and overtime violations) that has always outweighed petty theft/vandalism by an extraordinary amount. If a few trashed stores are what it takes for change to happen; so that we can walk down the street freely and have value given to our lives and experiences, then so be it.
We truly believe that allies, instead of judging the protestors or comparing their own states of oppression, should peacefully protest if that’s what you believe in, share awareness, donate to bail protestors or raise money for vandalized small businesses, speak out on your racist friends or family members, and recognize your own racist mentalities. Stop trying to demonize protestors because you don’t understand their pain and LISTEN to their stories to educate yourself on this SERIOUS issue.
Black Lives Matter
Marie-France Desir is pursuing a bachelor’s double major in Marketing and Media/Communication Studies at FSU. Marie-France transferred to FSU from FIU, where she was a member of the Honors College.
Yahnell Judah is a PhD student at the UM Miller Programs In Biomedical Sciences. She earned her bachelor’s in Biology and Natural & Applied Sciences, with minors in Psychology and Chemistry at FIU, where she was a member of the Honors College..
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AUTHORS AND LAST UPDATE
Marie-France Desir & Yahnell Judah 02 June 2020
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