by Stephanie Nunes, YIA Deputy Director
In June 2014 I started a full-time job in St. Louis, MO, two months before Michael Brown, Jr. was killed. During the day, I worked with an agency addressing the issues of the residents who lived in Ferguson and were unable to leave their homes due to the lockdown brought on by the military presence on the streets of Ferguson. On the weekends and evenings, I protested along with others in St. Louis, hoping for a change in the way our Black communities are policed and treated. Almost six years later and our society seems to just be on repeat. But my life isn’t. I now have a young Black son that I am raising, and hearing stories of unarmed Black people being killed now not only brings on fear for my life but the life of my son. The son that I know will one day be well over 6 feet and be seen as a threat. Not because he is doing anything wrong, but because he is Black. I also understand that my son has the light-skinned privilege (look at that, a Black person acknowledging their privilege) which will garner him some passes, but to others, he will still simply be seen as a Black man. So a plea from a mother, please keep protesting. We need to change a system that negatively impacts and targets Black people and other People of Color for simply existing. We need a country and society that welcomes and acknowledges our differences. And we need those who aren’t impacted to put their bodies (and money) on the line for change.
“We will shape and mold this country or it will not be molded and shaped at all anymore.” – Nina Simone