Introduction to the #DearAdultWorld
Black Lives Matter Collection
Diana Campos, 19, she/her/hers
Content Editor for #DearAdultWorld
I was introduced to the #BlackLivesMatter movement when I was in middle school. I was aware of the murder of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old boy killed for wearing a hoodie. As young as I was, I was older than my African American peers who had learned of police violence since they could formulate words. The story of getting followed, over-watched, and killed by those who are sworn in to protect.
Time proved that Trayvon would not be the first or close to the last. In the years to come, I and many others in this country watched as week after week, month after month and year after year another video, another murder, another protected police officer. And each time, there was a demand for change, a cry for justice. Something had to change.
When I was a sophomore in high school I wrote an article for my journalism class about police brutality and the senseless murders of African American people in this country. By then, it had been five years since Trayvon’s murder, three since Tamir Rice’s murder, and just months after Philando Castile’s murder, who was killed by Minneapolis police. All of their murderers were free, living as if nothing had happened. My high school article was titled “Police Brutality is Real” hoping my peers would pay attention, would understand the movement. Back then I wrote, “the problem is police officers are invincible within the law” and four years following that, it still holds true. In the fall semester of Freshman year, I took a class on the African Diaspora and we all watched as our professor showed us pictures of lynches that turned into videos of shootings.
Though expected from a country that has based its entire existence on the systematic oppression of others. There is a deep-rooted misconception over the history of this country. For years I was told about our so-called “amazing” history, the story of a rebellion that brought us “freedom” and liberty. That is of course, only to white individuals. I guess it is amazing how this country keeps evolving means of oppression. From enslavement, to criminalization, to mass incarceration, Jim Crow, and segregation.
George Floyd was the same age as my dad when he died a little over a week ago. His voice croaked out “I can’t breathe” to four police officers and a group of horrified onlookers. There are moments that define us as a nation. Historic moments, phrases, ones like “Give me liberty or give me death,” Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, Pearl Harbor, the Civil Rights Movement. The summer of 2020, unlike the glorified basic American history we are taught, is not to paint the United States in a good light. We will remember this time, the weeks in which thousands went out into the street to beg for justice, thousands that were met with tear gas, rubber bullets, and more violence. How this story continues will define you. Did you stand up or were you quiet?
In a country where hairstylists receive a longer training period than police officers, it is inevitable that undertrained, racist and abusive cops will prevail. A system that continues to cover and protect its own, whatever the crime may be. A system that beats, abuses, and kills hundreds of people a year.
Though it took another act of anti-black police violence for many to realize the severity of these murders, perhaps finally change will come.
#DearAdultWorld openly supports and stands in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. We will listen, not to formulate a response, but to try and understand. Our goal has always been to uplift the voices of those who could not speak, to give space and value to those who are denied expression. We offer in the following collection the voices of the youth; angry, grieving, tear-gassed, and bruised.
Artwork by: Madison Galvez, she/her/hers
“Black Lives Matter”
Coming from a privileged background, my initial reaction to everything going on right now was that this is a scary time, but then I realized that this isn’t merely just a scary time. For thousands of black Americans, the horrors of racism, police brutality, and inequality are constant and are just being brought to light right now. Not a single second of violence and inequality should be tolerated, yet the black community here in the US has had to endure over 400 years of it.
Lately, I’ve heard a number of people expressing the sentiment that all lives matter, many with good intentions, but right now black lives must matter. Saying all lives matter glosses over the fight that the black community has to endure, and doesn’t acknowledge that there is something wrong with how black people are treated by the US justice system and other individuals. The statement of “all lives matter” cannot be true until black lives matter. Why is it that “all lives matter” is a common universal understanding, yet “black lives matter” isn’t either?