Black Lives Rally unifies Troy community

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Last Sunday, I attended the Troy Rally for Black Lives and it was an incredibly moving experience. Being a part of a crowd of 11,000 voices left me sitting speechless afterwards thinking about just how powerful we can be when we create a united front. Although it was evident that people were angry and tired of asking for their basic human rights to be respected, the most prominent feeling being conveyed amongst the crowd was unity. There was no hatred present in the crowd, water bottles and freeze pops were being handed out to keep people hydrated, no violence occurred. There was no voice louder or quieter than any other, and when someone was speaking, others were listening. We were all in it together.

Photo by Dakota Gilbert

I carried a sign that said, “Care about black lives beyond moments of tragedy.” We need to do a better job at raising up those who have been oppressed. We cannot only act when we are outraged by horrific events. We cannot only act in support because it is “trendy”. We need to commit ourselves to being allies that are willing to make sacrifices. This movement is bigger than all of us. This push for a reevaluation of how we allow people to be treated could create monumental and necessary change. The protest today clearly demonstrated that people are demanding change and are tired of asking for their basic human rights to be respected.

Seeing the priorities of this country’s leaders has left me and millions of others sick. I have witnessed medical workers being neglected, educators being undervalued, social workers being underpaid, and the list goes on. Although the police should be a helping profession, I have been led to believe that they are not here to help everyone and that is a major flaw to have as a country. I think expansive reforms are needed, but change extends much farther beyond this important issue. Change needs to happen whole-heartedly across all institutions. White people need to face the harsh realities that we are privileged enough to escape in our daily lives. It is not enough to be “tolerant”. It is not enough for black lives to just matter. Black lives should be deeply valued and it should be clearly shown in statistics across the board that we care about black lives. How can we be content with ourselves if this is not the case? How can we claim to not be racist if we do not demand to see these results? There is no going back to “normal”. “Normal” has catered to the comfort of white people and dismisses historical oppression and continuing racial injustice.

Photo by Dakota Gilbert

This is just my perspective as someone who has been enraged by how this country is failing to follow through on its proclaimed principles of freedom, equality, and opportunity for all. I am not posting this for any other reason than I simply wanted for my voice to be heard because I feel it is my responsibility to be an active ally. Being passive in this will not accomplish anything and I want to be clear about where I stand. I have seen so many people being brought together by the horrific deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others that deserve justice. Although I am sad that this is what it takes to get people to pay attention, I hope as we learn more we can become just as united as the people I witnessed today and turn this outrage into something productive. 

Photo Gallery by Dakota Gilbert

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