GRASSROOTS EDUCATIONAL CAMPAIGNS

All Black Lives Matter. 

In every circumstance. No matter what. 

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Protests. Outrage. Demands for change. This upset comes in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, accumulating from Black Lives Matter protests and initiatives over the past several years since the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012. Yet, while awareness of police brutality and racism have resurfaced in the public arena due to video footage and media coverage, the dehumanization of black lives is far from a new phenomenon. 

 

Systemic racism is embedded into the very fabric of American society; no institution is left unscathed. In fact, our treatment of black lives exemplifies the adage, “the more things change, the more they remain the same.” Our country was built on the labor of African slaves, and the abolition of slavery merely changed the terminology of the systems oppressing of black lives. Systemic racism remains entrenched in our criminal justice system, communities, healthcare system, and schools, producing severe racial disparities across each sector.

 

Some people contend that poverty, not racism, is the driving force of inequality across racial groups. While racism and poverty certainly overlap and are interconnected, poverty alone does not account for the racial discrimination and disproportionately negative outcomes that people of color experience in America. Even when socioeconomic status and other confounding variables are controlled for, racial disparities remain. 

 

This paper provides a historical account of systemic racism, contextualizing contemporary racial disparities by diving into America’s dark past and illuminating the systems of oppression that are preventing black Americans from realizing the rights and quality of life they are afforded as human members of our society. By learning our history and developing deeper understandings of systemic racism, we will be better equipped to identify and address racism in our daily lives, serving as anti-racist allies in this nationwide quest for racial justice.

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