REFLECTIONS

By Our Participants

My name is Maryam Ahmad, and I live in Albany, New York. I am an Indian-American Muslim. I joined the ARE project because I didn’t feel like I could do much else. I couldn’t go to protest, even though I really wanted to, because it put my family at too much risk of COVID-19. I had donated, but not massive amounts. I had posted and retweeted and tried to advocate as much as I could. My heart hurt for all those who had been killed and hurt, and I didn’t feel like I was doing enough. But with the ARE Project, I can do more. 

 

I have always gone back to my first hobby in times of crisis or anxiety. There’s nothing like settling in with the comfort and peace of an hour in a book, even when there’s nothing but chaos swirling around. In this time of crisis with COVID-19 and the current turmoil of protests and police brutality, I have returned to the familiar: the favorite movies, the favorite books, the favorite songs.

 

But I can’t just escape reality. Reality is painful right now with the stories of the suffering of Black Americans across the nation, but only through confronting it can we ever move forward. 

 

There is so much pain and suffering, because people refuse to face the truth.

 

All lives matter, but do they really?

 

Do black and brown lives matter less? Because they are just names and faces at a distance? 

 

An immeasurable distance created by a legacy of treating them like property over 400 years, as less than human. Their pain and their lives are the cost of our silence. 

 

But my generation is not silent. My generation is screaming in the streets “No justice, no peace!” My generation is doing the work through educating themselves and others. My generation has formed the Anti-Racism Education Project, and through media and content from Black creators will confront the painful truths and move forward. My generation will continue to educate and advocate and discuss. My generation will never be silent until there truly is equality and justice for all. 

 

Justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Oluwatoyin Salau, and all those names and faces we have ignored.

 

No more.

No justice, no peace.

No peace in the streets,

& no peace in our minds,

until there is justice.

My name is Meenah and I live right outside of Chicago, Illinois. I joined the Anti-Racism Education Project because I want to continue my work on active allyship. As the Accessibility Leader for The ARE project, I work to ensure all materials used by the organization are free and easily accessible to all. As a white person, I want to use my privilege to fight for the rights and liberties of people of color. 

 A very important component of allyship is education. Reading books and poems, watching TV shows and movies, and listening to podcasts and music created by the black community and discussing these materials with other young adults from all over the world is truly a unique experience that allows for so many different perspectives and opinions to be heard. 

 

Through my various actions of attending a few protests in my local community, signing petitions, donating to various organizations, reading about countless incidents of police brutality against black people, and learning about the systemic racism that exists in every part of American society, I feel more empowered than ever to use my knowledge and privilege to fight for the black community.

 

Real and lasting change for the black community is necessary, and as young people, it is our job to fight for and create this change for our generation in order to pave the way of justice for future generations. 

My name is Anna Kishnani and I live in Fremont, CA. When the protests for Black lives began, I decided I had to address the issue of anti-Blackness in my own family. I sat down to have a conversation with my parents about the Black Lives Matter movement and the history of Black oppression. As we were talking, they seemed to be focusing entirely on the looting that was being shown on media outlets. They were not aware of the underlying causes of this movement, and that caught me by surprise. 

 

As immigrants that arrived here only six years ago, neither of them knew that the Civil Rights Movement pushed President Johnson to pass the bill that allowed them to be here. Over the course of our conversation, I realized that ignorance can truly be dangerous: in this case, it made one minority unfairly biased against another because they were not educated about all of the hardships that the Black community faced and continues to face.

 

I joined the ARE Project because the only tool we have against ignorance is education. This initiative is an amazing way for me to keep myself accountable to be educated about the Black experience through the works of Black creators. I feel that it is incredibly important to keep the conversation going because change can only come if we all support the movement sustainably.

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