Students participate in Black Lives Matter protests

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Tiana Hall

Black Lives Matter protestors gather in Arlington. Junior Tiana Hall joined the June 14 march with her sister and mother.

In addition to a global pandemic and an intense presidential election, 2020 brought police brutality to the forefront and intensified a movement that has been gaining strength in recent years.  I mourn for the victims of police brutality whose stories were unfinished, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many more. I stand with those who went out of their way to protest with Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter is a decentralized political and social movement advocating for non-violent disobedience in protest against police brutality. In regards to the protests, I wanted to get a clear view of the experience of attending one so I visited with junior Tiana Hall and senior Nevaeh Mountain to find out about their experiences attending a Black Lives Matter protest. 

 

Maria Alvarado: What made you want to protest? 

Tiana Hall: So many things really. With all the unjust killings, with me being black myself, with my family being black, seeing the cops get off free. With everything going on right now, I wanted to be a part of the change, even if it was only a little. I wanted to get out and fight and support the cause.

 

MA: What are your thoughts on police brutality?

TH: It’s wrong and needs to stop. Police need longer training, enforce “ask first, shoot later”, stop immediately racial profiling, and when something goes wrong and someone ends up dead, they need to pay for what happened even if it was an accident. If a doctor gives the wrong medicine and accidentally kills someone, they get fired and lose their license. Why are cops any different??

With their homemade poster in hand, junior Tiana Hall and her sister prepare to attend their first Black Lives Matter protest in Arlington. (Provided by Tiana Hall)

 

MA: Where did you go protest? 

Naveah Mountain: I protested here in Arlington around Downtown Arlington/ UTA’s campus.

 

MA:  What things did you take with you to the protest and why? 

TH: My mom wore a “Solidarity is a Must” shirt and I wore “Anti Trump AF”, just another way to make a statement.

NM: I brought several bottles of water, a mask, and my phone. One of my friends brought milk just in case things didn’t go as planned and something escalated. It took place a few months into the COVID-19 outbreak so I wanted to make sure I was not only protecting myself but others around me. I was recording almost everything while I was there.

 

 

MA: Did you make a poster that you took with you to the protest, if so what did it say? 

TH:Yeah, I had made it a few days before the protest. Just poster board and sharpie. It said “Black People Don’t Deserve This” with “#BLM” in the corner. 

 

MA: How was your overall experience when attending the protest? 

TH: It was really emotional and empowering almost. We all see photos on Instagram and Twitter, but being there, seeing it first hand it makes it seem so much more real and impactful. And so many people showed up, more than I had ever expected to see. It’s awful that we have to fight for this but it’s amazing that so many people, of so many different backgrounds, came to fight and stand up against police brutality.

NM: I genuinely enjoyed it. I cried a bit, because I’m tired of being scared of being black in America. It was nice to know that our community stands by us and is willingly using their voices to advocate for justice.

Black Lives Matter protestors stand with their banner. (Tiana Hall)