Man, I haven’t cried in a LONG time.
I cried last week though. I think the emotions of what’s happening to people who look like me is what pushed me over the edge.
Last Friday, I watched my amazing peers, faculty and staff from my former institution have a peaceful protest for the lives of those who were facing injustices throughout this nation. I also watched them become a target of verbal and physical abuse by some members of the community. The same community that the students helped volunteer and advocate for.
I remember when I first heard about the peaceful protest, it was to my knowledge that the student leaders organized it. They spread the word on social media and, in my opinion, did everything right to conduct a peaceful protest.
Key statement: They did everything right.
Then there was a Facebook post made by a member of the community, also a veteran of the U.S. army, who insinuated that the peaceful protest was being run by “outsiders” who wanted to “loot” and “riot” the community. He encouraged everyone to be “armed” and “protect” their community from these “outsiders.”
Wow, imagine helping a community for years just to be called an “outsider” for fighting for the rights of black people. Wild ain’t it.
Let me give y’all some background about my former institution. If you’ve been catching up on my blog posts then you would know that I’ve reach the finish line and I graduated this year. My institution is located within a town in the southeastern part of N.C. Since it’s within the town, it made sense to acquire some of the facilities and services for both students and the community.
On Friday, I watched a Facebook live post where the protesters marched down the road from the institution (which isn’t far) and they were met with racial slurs, people throwing objects at them and a person walking up to them with a knife. Some community members even brought firearms.
Yes, all of this hostile energy towards peaceful protesters. Yes, all of this hostile because a veteran of the U.S. army lied on Facebook and said these students were going to “loot” and “riot” when the students’ plan was to just march and return to campus.
Watching that live broke my heart, but it showed why the march was needed to be done in the community. I was clenching my phone so hard, I could see my veins popping out.
If you don’t agree with the movement, cool, go to hell for all I care and keep it pushing. The members of the community decided to attack these peaceful protesters which is also ironic because they almost created the “riot” that they originally “feared about.”
They almost did…but the students, including the faculty, staff and others from the community, continued to keep marching. That’s when I started crying because I couldn’t imagine being in that situation, but still being able to hold your head up high to keep walking.
In my Snapchat story, I stated how proud I was of every UNCP student. They did amazing and I meant every word.
The FB live video lasted over an hour, so the protesters were there for a MINUTE despite the injustices they went through. If that’s not powerful I don’t know what is. The town isn’t that big, so being there for over an hour is a long time. I saw faculty and students stop and speak with to the protesters about why the march was important, I heard that a preacher spoke with them protesters and supported them also, and afterwards the student leaders spoke to everyone.
“The work is not done.”
“We ain’t going no where!”
They are absolutely right. Despite hearing that some black students have decided to leave, which I support them entirely no matter where they choose to go, we still have some who are still there and they fear for their safety. I heard there are members from the community threatening black people in the area, asking them whether they went to the march and telling black people that they were going to physically harm them (what they really said was worse). So, the issue is getting worse.
I know I stated I was ready to move forward with the next chapter of my life, but I feel like helping the black students at my Alma Mater is a part of my next chapter.
Black students at UNCP, I got your back!