🏠😷🦠 Life As A QuaranTEEN 🦠😷🏠 The UnifiEd Student Voice Team Blog Surrounding COVID-19
Since America’s conception, Black people have quite literally built the country from the ground up. They have fought tooth and nail for safety, security, and the right to exist in a country that was never...
designed for them. Once they attained physical freedom, they got a taste of a conventional society that would later prove to be just as unwelcoming as their slave masters. Although chains no longer bound them, they were still held by the constraints of isolation from communities they contributed so much to. The sensational spark of the Civil Rights Movement as protestors echoed “No justice, no peace” was so loud that Black Americans still cry out those futile words today. As black history should not be confined to just one month, this blog will not be confined to one time period.
While there is black history all around the country that was far more influential in the grand scope of history, it is also important to know about our local black history. Many of the events in Chattanooga’s history surrounding Black Chattanoogans are still affecting our city today. Like many cities in the American south, Chattanooga had somewhat of a tumultuous period during the Civil Rights Movement. From a 26 year-long exhaustive legal battle during the Mapp Case to enforce Brown v. Board of Education in Chattanooga to protests for desegregation and equal treatment, Chattanooga in the 1950s and 1960s saw countless Black Chattanoogans making history for our city to bring about the needed progress. However, in spite of all of these heroic efforts throughout the Civil Rights Movement and the decades following it,many of the vestiges (or remnants) of segregation in Chattanooga still exist. Between de facto (societal) segregation caused by socio-economic segregation and district lines and the systemic and interpersonal racism in our city, Chattanooga clearly has a long way to go before we have reached equity for our Black citizens. But this isn’t a unique problem to Chattanooga, and it is these same issues that are being seen across the nation which sparked the 2020 Black Lives Matter Movement.
Millions of people protested in the 2020 Black Lives Matter Movement. As Los Angeles Times put it, “2020 was the year America embraced Black Lives Matter as a movement, not just a moment.” George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Andres Guardado. These are major names that no one should ever forget. The impact of police brutality. Our country stood up for racial injustice and brutality through impactful protesting and petitions. This year has definitely not been the easiest, but we made history and made a change for the better. We now have a Black and South Asian Vice President that created a warm and inspirational impact on little girls and little girls of color.
The movement is not over yet, and the problem is not gone. This is not a trend. Even though we are being heard, that’s not enough. We need change in people, thoughts, and voices. There are way too many people against it. Speaking out about these types of injustices is the only way for change. Black History Month acknowledges all those that stood up for change and those who died because of it. Support what you believe in and educate yourself on Black History to understand the depth of the situation.
This blog focuses on the past, present, and future of Black lives because as this year progresses past February, black lives will still matter. And when companies change their logos back at the month’s end, retracting their allyship, Black people will still be making their contributions to them. When your social media feeds return to “normal” and you see fewer posts about black history that weren't taught in our schools; when you won’t be forced to watch random live streams of police brutality; when the Black Lives Matter hashtag dies down, please don’t let the impact of Black lives die with it. Black people are not a trend. They are not an anomaly. They are not a blemish to America’s clear, porcelain skin. They are a reminder of a deep-rooted hatred and history toward a group of people who refused to be beaten down by the whips of slavery. They resisted the policies of discrimination. They rebuked the guns of police brutality. Black survival, Black progressiveness, and Black excellence transcends a month’s worth of recognition, nevermind the shortest month in the year. As Black history is being created, a new America is being shown on the horizon. My hope is that a safer, more inclusive, and impactful society will emerge from the ashes of an old, dilapidated one.