Sumlar: Enough is enough

All lives can’t matter until Black lives matter

At a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest June 6 in front of the Olive Branch City Hall, protesters kneeled on the ground for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time Derek Chauvin pinned George Floyd to the ground. The group prayed and raised their fists against systemic racism in this country.

Nadia Sumlar, Co-editor

For as long as I can remember, Black people have been bullied, slandered and discriminated against. It is so frustrating that change came in the bare minimum after previous generations marched and protested against inequality and injustice. 

Ahmaud Arbery is a victim to a hate crime that ended in a murder for jogging in his Georgia neighborhood. In Minneapolis, George Floyd was held down by a cop’s knee on his neck while crying out for his dead mother. A sleeping Breonna Taylor was shot eight times by the Louisville Metro Police Department when they invaded her home with a no-knock search warrant. Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are only a few names of the Black lives that were cut short by injustice. 

How would you feel if you were being pulled over by the police, and you were holding your breath and praying in hopes that you will make it to your home alive? Or what if you missed out on opportunities and were judged solely because of your skin color? 

When you think of “the talk,” what comes to mind? The “first day of school” talk? The “you can be what you want to be” talk? The “health” talk? Well, being Black requires a different kind of talk that goes a little like this:

“You are not beautiful for a Black girl. You are beautiful regardless.”

“When you get pulled over, put your hands on the dashboard.”

“Have your ID with you just in case anyone stops you on your walk to school.”

“Never be ashamed of who you are.”

On June 6, I went to a peaceful protest on the grounds of City Hall in Olive Branch, the town where I have lived most of my life. It honestly amazed me how many people attended and shouted “Black Lives Matter.” We kneeled on the ground for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time Derek Chauvin pinned George Floyd to the ground. We prayed and raised our fists against the systemic racism in this country. It was reassuring to see people from Memphis, Southaven and Arlington come and support the Black Lives Matter movement here.

There are many things I could say about Black lives. How we are beautiful, powerful, strong, independent. How our ancestors built this country beginning when the first slave ship landed 400 years ago on American soil. We deserve to live in it fearlessly. 

The color of our skin is not a threat. We are Americans and we won’t stop until justice is served. The Black Lives Matter movement did not start with George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery or Breonna Taylor. It didn’t start with Trayvon Martin. We are still crying the tears of Emmett Till. We should not be afraid to whistle, to put our hoodies on, to run in our own neighborhoods, to sleep in our own beds. 

All lives can’t matter until Black lives matter.