Black Lives Matter


Harper Treschuk

Signs from a peaceful anti-racism demonstration on the town green in June

As a young person it becomes hard to stand up for my beliefs as I don’t want to seem disrespectful towards others, especially those older than myself. Particularly, growing up in Fairfield, the 89.4% white town (according to a July 2019 estimate), is a place that is very one-sided on many issues surrounding racism. Because of this, racism and prejudice as well as their ramifications are essential parts of ourselves and society that need to be deeply discussed. 

Racism has been a problem in the United States since its institution and a part of the world forever. White people throughout history decided that due to the whiteness of their skin, they are superior to others. Thus, our societies today have adopted the idea that other humans are “less than” and institutionalized racism has become normalized and mostly ignored by white people, particularly white people in power, until the 21st century. Luckily the Black Lives Matter movement has picked up momentum, especially following the death of George Floyd and many other innocent black people who were violently killed by aggressive and racist police officers. All people are now more than ever, holding police and government systems accountable for the lack of necessary anti-bias and de-escalation training, which seem to be pushed aside, while the current training has more of a military-style approach. Our police system has a very straightforward issue in regards to racism and “othering,” that there is not enough time and resources spent on education and continuous reeducation of police officers. 

Although deemed political by some, racism is not a political issue, it is a human rights issue which no one except for people of color can fully understand. However, if you are white, like me, it is our responsibility to stand up for fellow humans and reflect in ourselves, thinking about the racial microaggressions we likely have. Microaggressions are clear in society if people look for them. For example, holding a personal purse or wallet a little tighter when a person of color passes projects the assumption that they are a criminal or they are dangerous. Another example is saying “you’re so fluent” or asking “where are you actually from?” because the color of someone’s skin sends a message that they do not belong.

Also, the statement “Black Lives Matter” does not mean other lives don’t. It simply means that Black lives are equal to white lives and should be treated like this in all aspects. Saying “All Lives Matter” is simply a response to denounce BLM by ignoring the core meaning of the important phrase. BLM does not negate the fact that all lives do matter. But, Black lives won’t matter until all lives do, so ultimately that statement is false. 

Without self reflection of our own wrongdoings, standing with and fighting for others, we will get nowhere. It is clear that many young people know this, as 70+ teens and college students have formed the Fairfield Equity Coalition, which, according to the organization’s website, is “a youth-led organization taking local action to re-imagine Fairfield’s definition of what constitutes a comprehensive education.” The coalition is very active on social media, posting a series called “Debunking History” and most recently launching a series which breaks down microaggressions. The coalition also releases a newsletter every week with an update on what they are working on, as well as additional information on local happenings. The most recent newsletter (Vol.5 from August 3) states that they are finalizing a report to push for equity in Fairfield Public Schools, which includes a list of 10 actionable changes. This report will be presented to the Board of Education in hopes of major anti-racist progress with student involvement. 

Evidently, change is possible as long as people come together to dismantle the institutionalized racism in our societies. If you have any questions about this article or about how to help the Black Lives Matter movement please let me know; I have collected many petitions which stand up against injustices and raise awareness about problems in our country.

Please reach out to Beah at [email protected] if you have any questions about Black Lives Matter.