by Mity Endeshaw ’23
Many students know who Martin Luther King is. Many of you may know about the civil rights movement, and the drastic change that African Americans have made for themselves. The Black heroes that have been named numerous times, just like MLK, Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and many more. One thing I like to reflect on this very day is the Black lives that had to pay for the injustice that our heroes had fought to change. Sadly, I can name more Black lives that have been lost than I can name the heroes we celebrate. Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old male who was stopped by the police for a traffic violation. Manual Ellis, a 33-year-old male who lived in Tacoma, Washington, who was shot after walking home from a convenience store. Anittia Jerfferson, who was shot in the comfort of her own home after a neighbor had called the police on her. George Floyd, Tamir Rice, Breanna Taylor, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Jordan Edwards…the list continues. As excited as I am to celebrate today, I will never forget the names of those who had lost their lives due to the color of their skin being seen as a threat. I understand that today is a day for African Americans to celebrate the liberation we have gained since the civil rights movement. But when Black bodies are falling to the ground almost everyday, how can I celebrate? Without feeling guilty that I get to be alive and enjoy the fruits of our labor today? Knowing that I, too, could be seen as just another Black body to White America. What helps me through this guilt is knowing that there is progress being made for the Black community, and that although we still have not gotten the justice we deserve, the progress we have made gives me hope for the future; that we will one day get to know what true liberation feels like. Even if it may not be in my lifetime.