By Halimah Kargbo
Amidst the racial inequality and police brutality that occurs far too often, it is not unusual to begin to question your role in these issues. If something hasn’t happened directly to you, are you still able to help? If you want to speak up and say something, does your voice truly have power? It is easy to say no to these questions, especially if you’re only in high school.
But, that should not keep you from making use of the power that you have. After all, the future advancements in racial equality will eventually land on your shoulders. This task may seem daunting, but don’t worry; there are so many young people of this generation standing with you.
This begs the question: why is it so important that students in Howard County fight against racial injustice? The divide in this county is evident and affects all who live in it. The only thing left to ask is what you can do to fight this division. Here are three easy ways that students like you can get involved with the Black Lives Matter movement:
In today’s time, knowledge has power. Taking the time to learn about the movement itself and what drives it can make all of the difference. There are many quality resources you can simply find online to get a sense of the meaning behind Black Lives matter and how it still carries weight today.
According to Ms. Dunn, one of our media specialists right here at Hammond, some places where trustworthy information can be found are The New York Times, Politico, NPR, and The Atlantic.
Another important task is listening. There could be so many people around you with personal experiences with either racism or police brutality; taking the time to hear their stories could evolve your perspective and understand why there needs to be a change in this society.
Social media can be such a powerful tool for activism in the hands of younger generations. Having a direct role in the movement can prove difficult without a proper platform to speak from, but social media can actually help with that. Not only is it accessible to such a widespread audience, but it is also an easy way to share and learn information that is presented in many ways. There’s also a sense of intimacy that comes with being introduced to the stories of others.
After the death of George Floyd in May of this year, countless people took advantage of various social media networks to show their support to the movement. When participating in digital activism, the smallest actions can make a difference. Sharing infographics and petitions so that others may see them and do the same really has an impact on the Black Lives Matter movement and ensures that it doesn’t lose its momentum among young people. However, social media shouldn’t be your only source of information.
“There are many great sources on social media, but social media is… social media,” Ms. Dunn says. It’s important to not rely on it too much. But, a specific person that she would recommend following is Dr. Ibram X. Kendi who posts reliable information on his social media.
Getting involved with clubs and organizations
This task may not seem feasible due to the online setting but there are still ways to involve yourself with activist groups in the community. Student-led organizations such as HoCo for Justice have pioneered in efforts to support the Black Lives Matter movement here in Howard County, even going as far as to organize protests and walks.
They accept applicants between the ages of 15-22, meaning that high schoolers can join. On a larger scale, The HCASC (Howard County Association of Student Councils) promotes opportunities for students to interact with youth councils and even policy makers here in Howard County. This provides chances to be involved in conversations about racial justice and what effect that has on teens who live here.
In today’s climate, taking the time to learn about such widespread movements like Black Lives Matter can be important for gaining new perspectives. Or perhaps, you could educate others who haven’t yet had the chance to learn. Either way, remember this: no effort can be deemed too small in the fight for racial justice.