Pandemic Protests

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Pandemic Protests

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These images from June 2020 were captured during Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests in New York City following the killing of George Floyd. The first image shows City Hall the morning after BLM protests. In this image of a landmark building covered in spray painted cries for change, graffiti depicts the frustrations over the cruel injustices institutions place on people of color. The second image depicts one of many protests during summer in quarantine when New Yorkers came together on avenues, bridges, and squares. Citizens marched and chanted as police followed alongside to ensure protests remained peaceful. These images capture uniquely complex dynamics when people were forced to pursue creative avenues, reinventing social justice movements to come.
My time in quarantine was not solely spent on COVID related activities, I also educated myself on how and why many US institutions remain racist, discovering ways that structural change can address unjust attitudes. I read articles written by advocates for the BLM movement and also by conservatives opposing it. In exposing myself to differing mindsets, I was better prepared to engage in conversations with others opposed to change in the hope of educating them on the pressing need for progress. Furthermore, my high school friends and I frequently Zoomed to discuss how our alma mater contributes to racism in both subtle and overt ways. These conversations allowed us to work with fellow alumni, as well as current students, to create a document clearly listing racial inequities within the student body, the faculty, and the curriculum. For each issue that we highlighted, we provided multiple alternatives for how the school could fix the matter in question. While these conversations were unexpected before the BLM protests occurred, they became productive and fulfilling conversations that in and of themselves began to address long held biases, racist representations and undercurrents of injustice within our alma mater’s community and programs.

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This item was submitted on September 16, 2021 by Emily Crouch using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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