Following last week’s post from Saragine Edouard we are delighted to continue a series of blog posts by High School Students from the Gotham Professional Arts Academy in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The students attended our public art performance by Dread Scott this past October in DUMBO. Over the course of the following weeks the students organized a series of “Town Hall” meetings to address the recent racial tension and social injustice. Today’s guest blogger is Yudelka Espinal.
photographs by Saragine Edouard.
“He controls the past controls the future; He controls the present controls the past”, from George Orwell’s 1984.
Today, the situation is the past that our parents and grandparents fought for us to have a better present and future, but it’s being ruined by the violence and racism that’s prevalent in today’s society. Racism existed for many years but today it’s being used to leave our people naked. Naked because we are treated like animals with no dignity. As a young Latina girl, I have experienced racism just like many other people. In today’s society we see that we the majority are being treated like we are not worth anything by the people who are supposed to protect us. We can’t let those people continue to hurt us, and kill our people. So what can we do as a society, as a race, and as individuals to make changes so that future generations can live a better life without discrimination, so that the past does not control their future.
Why should Americans have to face such an injustice system? Why is it that instead of helping us become better the system is destroying our people who have built this country? Injustice has been ongoing for many years, but a time has come where we need to put a stop to it and show America that we matter. Black and brown lives matter, and injustice, racism, and violence need to come to an end. The NYPD has a long history of killing unarmed black men who are fathers, brothers, friends but most important humans who are killed as if they were animals. As a united community we should keep protesting to show America that they can’t destroy us. In the poem ‘If We Must Die” by Claude Mckay, he speaks about how we are killed with no mercy stating, “Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot, while round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, making their mock at our accursed lot,” Mckay is telling us to not become weak, comparing us to “hogs hunted and penned in an inglorious spot, but to fight against those who attack us, those that are making their mock at our accursed lot.” We can’t allow America to destroy our future. We can’t allow them to keep killing our people because they feel as if we are animals; monsters who in the eye of America, doing harm. This is absolutely absurd. We need a bright future, because as young adults, we are working for our futures. We want to go to college and become doctors, teachers, lawyers and so many other things that America doesn’t want us to become since they are killing our people.
Should we play the victim or change the system? We should keep on fighting to stop all the injustice happening. Let’s make the system change so we can walk around safe with no fear that we might get killed or stopped and frisked, making us vulnerable as if we need to be. We should make the system come up with new laws or apply the laws that they have now to punish these cops for the killing of innocent people. Instead of having an all white jury we should have a jury where the community is involved and we get to speak as citizens and our rights are not denied. Things will only get harder but we have to get stronger and keep on moving forward. In Langston Hughes’ poem “Mother To Son” he states, “and sometimes going’ in the dark where there ain’t been no light. So boy, don’t you turn back.” Even if we feel that we need to give up, we need to keep making our voices heard so that we can make a change. The change won’t happen immediately but it will happen later on.
As a community we should keep striving for more; we should strive for greater. Let’s not give up, and let’s show America that they cannot destroy us and that we will put a stop to all this violence and discrimination because our lives matter, our future kids matter, we are humans who deserve equal human rights. But lets not forget that to make a change in the world we must start by changing ourselves.