December 3, 2016

Thank you, St. Louis

St. Louis, thank you for the protest, the riots, the street art and media attention. Because they have initiated the first step toward change. St. Louis, a place of obvious segregation, has never made me a proud resident. But my perspective has changed since the shooting of Michael Brown. I am proud St. Louis is making history and starting to attract attention to a situation that has been longing for conversation.

For the past few weeks I have felt the equivalent of a brick laying on my chest from being surrounded by the stubborn opinions on racial issues in the United States. Though I am not African American, I am in the minority and have glimpsed what it is like to be judged on my outward appearance. Racism in America is a real issue we must all fight against.

Since the Michael Brown protests, the media’s awareness of racial concerns around the country has increased.

Weekly, stories including a police officer and whether or not his or her decision to kill an African American is justified have been nationally reported by most media outlets. These stories include Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old fatally shot by a police officer in Cleveland; John Crawford, shot in Wal-Mart for carrying an unloaded BB air rifle sold in the store; and the most disheartening to me: the officer who killed Eric Garner on video and was not indicted.

The regularity of these stories proves racial injustice prevails in the U.S. I thank St. Louis for respecting the seriousness of this issue and as a result, the media has taken note and is finally reporting what has always been happening.

Since the shooting of Michael Brown, when a racial-related crime gets media attention, it is related back to Ferguson. The shooting of Michael Brown has started a conversation. No matter what the opinion is on the situation, the topic of justice needs to be talked about, not ignored.

I am pleased to know a conversation has started about what fighting for justice means. Fighting for justice is more than any physical thing can achieve; it is a mental change. As the Garner case proves, cameras on police officers will not fix the problem of racial inequality. Fighting for justice is fixing the problem from the root of the cause: perception of equality.

Living in a just country would entail a place of completely equal opportunity. In a daydream of post-racial times, equality would exist in all aspects of life, including jobs, education, living areas and libraries.

Injustice is a heavy topic to grasp and therefore may be easier for some to ignore rather than admit there’s a problem. I thank St. Louis for making it easier to pay attention.

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