It was just a regular collegiate day. There was so much boasting in the atmosphere about the upcoming events we all anticipated for the 2020 year.
From canceled trips, conferences and internships to our daily routines, everything about life became unfathomable right in front of our eyes. Dark energy rapidly came into every space. Every day local places became OCD battles to make sure you didn’t inhale or touch the wrong thing. Toilet paper, gloves, masks, food — they all became items, leaving every man for themselves. Church services, restaurants, movie theaters, malls — they all closed, making the cities we call home feel like a place we would not even imagine visiting.
However, this global health crisis was not the only battle my community and communities similar all over the world, were fighting for. The barrier-breaking events that took place this year were record-breaking. The unity I saw was a force that could not be silenced.
The actions being produced by the Black community, were so beautiful. It was and is a time that called for all hands on deck. It was a time that required leaders, celebrities, and all communities to come together as one, to be heard.
“Race might just be that which has an unchanged face, which remains the same despite the ‘weather, geography, culture and language,’ so that it produces the same phantasms and desires,” H. J. Spiller wrote a quarter century ago.
I knew as an artist and leader in my school and community, that I had to channel the intense emotions I was feeling into a spirit of productivity. My mission began with making sure I could do everything in my power to ensure November 2020 produced the outcome our country needed to see.
Just when I believed that a better tomorrow was possible, on Sept. 21, 2020, our “leadership” attempted to put a tighter grip around our necks.Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced the “Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting, and Law Enforcement Protection Act,” Also known as “Operation: Let’s arrest people of color for peacefully protesting.”
According to an official news release from DeSantis’ staff, the act — now a bill swimming through both chambers of the Legislature — creates new criminal offenses and increases penalties for those who participate in violent or disorderly assemblies.This country was created through protest. Through protest we have demanded justice and equality from government leaders. Yes, we are far from complete, but our efforts for further progress are now being threatened.
The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention has reported a total of 427,626 deaths to date from COVID. In my translation, this tells me that the virus may be one of the only things in this country, not discriminating. Yet, our Republican leaders in Florida still manage to put the Black Lives Matter movement as an issue that needs to be combated. Wake up! Your lack of sympathy is causing you to allow citizens of your state to not receive the same luxury of waking up, as you do.
Uncertain energy still controls and captivates so many people’s emotions. Rather, it’s fighting for your life because of the color of your skin or running from a disease that has the ability to not discriminate more than the leaders of your state. Whatever the case, it makes it even more clear that love is the most important thing.
I am most proud of my generation for stepping up to the call. It is inspiring to know we yearn for a brighter, unified future for all people. I know the work is truly just beginning, and I am confident that we will fortify ourselves for this race. I am so honored and grateful to have been part of such a pivotal year and cannot wait to see the enormous strides that continue for equal rights and justice all over the world.