On Sunday, May 31, more than 700 people joined me and my friends in solidarity to fight against white supremacy and the institutions that uphold them in the United States. The sun was shining, the wind was there to keep us cool and love was reigning for all of us.
This day all came about through a simple Tweet, a rhetorical question that asked: “Can we please do a protest in Monroe, please?”
This shot in the wind caught the attention of my good friend Suhi Saran and was followed by her question: “How do we get a protest to happen in Monroe?”
This was the spark to a fire. And through mere word of mouth, through the help of Sky Arroyo, Chris Omar, Tabatha Castro, Tyjai Lewis and social media surged the wavelength of communication that made the demonstration prominent in the Hudson Valley.
Unsurprisingly, once our protest was shared in various community groups on Facebook, the grievances of local residents who opposed the Black Lives Matter movement and demonstrations of protests across the United States appeared. These people had preconceived notions that the protest was going to result in the looting of small businesses and arson due to the riots that were presently being broadcasted on the news.
Through their uproar, our protest was able to gain even more momentum because many people were sharing it amongst themselves and to various community pages on Facebook. My question now is: How do you feel about being so blatantly loud and wrong, that you even went to the lengths of threatening young adults with your, and I quote, “M-4” guns?”
The protest was full of nothing but love and empathy, two things that need to be injected into the veins of these complicit racists who find no harm in the genocide of black people through white supremacy.
Black people have been fighting for racial equality peacefully for decades, and yet these issues proceed to exist and solidify themselves into our society.
How is that we transformed the act of slavery into a system of mass incarceration?
In order to dismantle a complex ideology of hate such as racism, it requires the majority of society, also deemed as Caucasians, to feel uncomfortable and spread education that has been suppressed from the public for years.
Regardless if you attended the protest in Monroe, or the ones that followed in Middletown, Cornwall, Goshen or Middletown, the fight for justice is still not over. The fight for justice continues until we have made strong efforts in defunding the police and in the abolition of the police system. The abolition of the police system is required if we want true and significant change in black communities because these systems have infiltrated themselves so much that it is solely impossible to not see a police presence in highly populated areas of black and brown people.
The current police system in this country is outdated and we deserve more social services and resources in urban areas that aim to fully heal and rectify traumatic situations before they evolve into something much more volatile and resistant to control.
People do not commit crimes for no reason.
We are not born evil.
We as a whole need to stop saying that we do not see color, but instead say that we acknowledge our differences and yet we choose to love and embrace them instead of fear them.
Black Lives Matter is about changing the way people view human dignity.
It is about rejecting every nuance of racism and dehumanization and realizing that black people are human beings, too.
Shelby Seth is 21, a graduate of Monroe-Woodbury High School and a recent graduate of Chapman University in Orange, California, where she double-majored in Political Science and Strategic and Corporate Communication. “I plan on continuing my social activism work by pursuing an M.A. in Public Administration and Policy and eventually obtaining my Juris Doctorate degree so that I can become a judge and ensure justice is being served. I am a firm believer in spreading the greatest amount of love to the greatest amount of people possible, with everything that you do.”
“We as a whole need to stop saying that we do not see color, but instead say that we acknowledge our differences and yet we choose to love and embrace them instead of fear them.”