Malik Barry was born in 2002, and he lives in Maryland, USA. This year, he has just started his first course at the college. Today, he has told us his experiences with the activism in recents months.
You can access to the Spanish translation here.
Puedes acceder a la traducción al español aquí.
On May 25, still immersed in the worst phase of the pandemic, a terrible event stirred world public opinion and began one of the largest mobilizations in recent years in the United States: the Black Lives Matter campaign, which denounces the injustices committed against the black population of the United States, flooded the streets of the main cities of the country after the video that showed the cruel murder of George Floyd at the hands of two police officers went viral.
«The year 2020, for me and those all around the world, has been a year of reckoning; a year that has reared its ugly head and has forced us, as a global community, to confront the hidden demons and injustices that we often overlook and shy away from.
Growing up as a person of color in The United States of America has been one of the greatest privileges of my life but has also been one of my greatest challenges. Living in white suburbia it is often hard to find people who look like you and who share the same experiences; the community that you grow up in is often sheltered from the harsh realities of the world around you and you develop a false
sense of security because of that. This false sense of security that I was slowly developing Coronavirus quickly began to reveal how people of color within this country are disproportionately harmed due to the lack of quality health care and housing discrimination.
CDC guidelines such as social distancing are nearly impossible for families that live in very urban communities because of tight living and the numerous generational homes. With this pandemic and it’s subsequent battering of lower-income communities, people of color and black people especially were already feeling disenfranchised and not thought of when it came to government legislation, COVID relief, and proper welfare systems to meet their needs.
I recall sitting at home prepping for my high school graduation on May 25th when the news broke about George Floyd and his murder by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I saw a black man pinned to the ground begging for some leeway, begging for a chance to breathe. I remember staring into the soul of a demented and cruel police officer as he savagely took away George Floyd’s life as he screamed “I can’t breathe”. The white police officers unrelenting knee pinning down George Floyd was so revealing of Black lives in
America. I was agitated and livid to see that this man’s life was treated in such an inhumane manner and that none of the other police officers were willing to jump in and stop the atrocity.
To some around the world, the atrocities and injustices that Black Americans have to face daily may be new to them but to Black Americans, it is engraved in their history and their development. Black communities have always been over-policed and mistreated due to prejudice and racist policies. Usually, when an innocent black life is stolen by bigots with a badge, they
either go unnoticed, are put on the national stage to be grieved for a week until everyone’s workweek starts up again, or are vilified for their actions that led up to the incident. This year, however, with millions of people staying at home because of the global pandemic, there was no longer an opportunity to fold back into our busy work lives and to forget the racial tensions and injustices that are ever so rampant within our nation.
Due to this, people rioted in the streets in breathtaking numbers and passion unlike ever before; demanding justice and equality for their brethren. The message for racial justice spread to nations all over the world and people of all tongues and creeds spoke out for those who are so often disenfranchised and ostracized.
Me being a black man, I recognized that it was important to shake up the suburban town I lived in from its deep slumber it found itself in. I began to help organize rallies near my home and went in full strength to speak to the people of my community about the damage our systems impose on
people of color. I engaged in conversation in my school and with my peers about why it is always important to amplify black voices; voices that are so often neglected. It was a difficulty to go out in force and to march for lives lost by the racial war we find ourselves in but I tried my
best to fight for those who often find it difficult to find their voice without being vilified. I think it’s important, no matter who you are, where you’re from, or the socio-economic background you are prescribed to, to always fight for those who are less fortunate and those who are at risk.
Now, many months after the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, the legacy that they left behind is forever important to uphold. We are adamant to hold our political leaders accountable for all the decisions they make and the legislation they pass. It is our job as a global community and as Americans to think of those who our policies often leave out and to fight for equity in legislation and in justice. Our lives matter, Black Lives Matter, and Black Votes Matter».
Malik Barry, from Bethesda, Maryland.
(November 22, 2020)