Collinsville protest for Black Lives Matter

Woman at march in Collinsville fighting for equality. Courtesy of Lena Stein

BY EMMA MACLAREN

The Black Lives Matter movement has taken America by storm. After the murder of George Floyd, protests have erupted all throughout the country to demand justice and equality for Black Americans.

The Black Lives Matter movement is one of the most important movements in American history. It is now time for everyone to open up their eyes and realize the systemic  racism and true inequality in America that should have been abolished many years ago.

On Sunday, June 7, there was a protest in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in Collinsville, which received strong support in the Canton community. There are real human lives at risk and the reason for the risk is solely the color of one’s skin. “This isn’t a political party issue, this is a human rights issue. If you aren’t with the movement, then you’re on the wrong side of history,”  said Canton High School freshman, Stef Ortiz. 

Protests give the opportunity to use our voices in a way that spreads strong awareness. “The protests – in my opinion – have made it feel more imperative for us progressives to show up and speak up. It shows everyone that we’re here, we care, and – we vote. Democrats, liberals, progressives – we need to give ourselves permission to be just as loud (although not as unpleasant) as the Trump supporters who are more than happy to gun their pickups waving Trump flags and shouting about “white power” at demonstrators,” said Katie Lukas, who ran for town representative in 2019. With these protests we are using our voices and saying enough is enough. This is how change happens and the fight will continue until things get better and people are equal.

This protest brought unity and awareness to our town. Canton High School sophomore, Ella Cookman, said the protest “brought more awareness to the subject and showed unity in our town that’s very isolated right now. It felt really empowering to me.” There was true unity and passion shown in Collinsville on that Sunday, with people of all ages using their voices to speak on the movement.

Not only was there overwhelming support at the protest, but there were also people who attended who did not agree with the movement. This was mostly shown in cars as people drove by waving a Confederate flag or putting up their middle finger. However, they were truly only spreading unnecessary hate which made everyone get more passionate. Chants got louder, signs flew higher, the Canton community stood together as one to demand equality.

Police brutality must be abolished and abolished quickly. Officers must have more hours of training and must be held accountable for their actions. We can no longer tolerate turning on the news to see that another Black person has been brutally murdered by an officer. The justice system needs to see some major reform. When a police officer says that they are here to protect and serve all, who do they really mean?

It is still important to continue to fight for equality even as protests are shown less in the media. Sign petitions, donate money, spread awareness. Most importantly, if possible, please vote. America needs change and we will not see it unless people stand up and try to make this a country that everyone can call home.

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