• Kendall Lanier

The Importance of Using your Voice to Fight Injustice

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

In the light of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder, many people have spoken out. Social media has been flooded with videos and opinions leading to the creation of the hashtag #runwithmaud in celebration of his birthday. The large amount of support for Arbery and the awareness people created by condemning the murder led to his killer’s arrest. However, there are many people that say protesting and speaking out won’t make the unjustified killings of black people come to an end. This may be true, but if so what can you do? Sit back and watch it continue to happen? If I’ve learned one thing about being a part of black youth in America, it’s that your voice is the most powerful thing you have. While one protest or one post on twitter about how tragic the event was may not instantly change the world, it is a start. Sitting back and staying quiet is the worst thing you could do. As human rights activist, Ginetta Sagan said: “Silence in the face of injustice is complicity with the oppressor.”

When I started high school, I didn’t really have an opinion on many social justice issues. Of course, I felt sad and helpless when I heard about the injustices fellow black people suffer daily, but I never really had much to say or contribute when my family had passionate discussions on those topics. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I became more conscious of how rampant hate crimes are. The isolated killings of any black person in America affect all black people. I realized that although police brutality or hate crimes are not as prolific where I live, they are part of a system of oppression that affects us all. The regularity of these hate crimes makes me think about how easy it is for something like this to happen to my dad, my close male friends, or anyone I know.

The unjustified murders of black people have become so routine in America. Every few months a killing of a black person circulates through the news and social media, and that doesn’t even count the ones that go unreported. This is why the power of our voice is so important. Protesting, using social media in positive ways to spread awareness, and speaking up whenever events like Arbery’s happen helps people understand that the murders of black people are not something that should ever be seen as regular or normal. Therefore, staying quiet is disrespectful to the countless victims who have lost their lives for simply being black.