It almost seems like someone planned it.
The fact that Black people are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and then we have to go out and protest to not get killed — it’s crazy. I went to a protest personally and I did feel a little unsafe because there was no social distancing. I felt a bit like my life was in danger, having to worry: Am I going to catch this virus?
The prison systems are an even worse problem, which I’m hoping that this situation will bring light to. Even before it was essentially modern-day slavery, but I can’t imagine how the people in there right now must feel. Innocent people dying in jail because they couldn’t afford bail, inmates not getting taken care of if they contract the coronavirus. We need to not incentivize jails being filled up, and I hope this moment does that.
Already there have been so many amazing laws that legislators are starting to try to pass based on this momentum. The racially based use of 911, like we saw with the Amy Cooper situation, is gaining traction. Now there are laws people are trying to get passed where if you use the police to threaten people of color, you’re gonna get a fine. Something like that needs to be enacted because too many people use the police in malicious ways.
Similarly, banning certain police practices like chokeholds is important. People have a hard time believing that you could train somebody to learn how not to murder, but even if it’s just another month of training, we need to start somewhere. Maybe longer training will encourage people to think twice or wean out those people who aren’t truly meant to be in law enforcement.
I would really like all of these people, police officers and white people in general, to take the time to educate themselves without my help. A lot of the time, white people will reach out to say, “I'm realizing this is the issue. Can you help me?” And I'm so tired. Tired of seeing people who look like me get murdered. Tired of having to help white people understand it. I don't have the mental or emotional capacity to do that.
And for all non-Black people, it’s not enough to be non-racist because your ancestors didn’t own slaves or you don’t think you discriminate. You need to be actively antiracist, whether that’s donating, protesting, or just reading up. You need to take those active steps because you are the ones with most of the power to change this.
Miranda Dias, 22, is a recent graduate who lives in Taunton.