Carry the momentum to the ballots

Carry+the+momentum+to+the+ballots

Illustration by Nyomi Fox

The United States experienced mass protests and riots in response to the death of George Floyd. Americans angered by the prevalent racial injustice throughout the country are actively voicing their concerns by taking to the streets and protesting. The scale of these demonstrations can be compared to those at the height of the civil rights movement during the late 1960s.

For the last week I, like all Americans, have been watching thousands of our countrymen take to the streets demanding the eradication of American racism. On many occasions, these protests have turned into violent episodes of arson and looting. Americans have also seen violent police crackdowns on peaceful protests, such as what happened in LaFayette Square, where peaceful protests were forcefully dispersed by federal enforcers.

I am furious with our racist and corrupt institutions and I, like many Americans, believe that change is long overdue. Every American deserves the most basic of human rights and yet our American system continues to deprive black Americans of these freedoms.

What is best is for all those who are frustrated, like me, to turn this frustration into a concentrated and unrelenting assault on the institutions that reaffirm bigotry. I do not wish for these protests to end and I do not wish for us to go back to the way things were. What I wish is for all protesting Americans to continue their vocal opposition to our racist institutions. Our cries will be our active resolve to turn the gears of democracy. What we need to do is focus on injustices at the local level.

Many of the protestors are young Americans, who are eligible to vote in our national elections. We must focus on voting at the local level. Now more than ever, voting for your county council, your mayor or your sheriff is more important than a national election. Because the problem lies in these institutions. Racism is no longer federally mandated, it is now reinforced at the local level, which most directly affects Americans.

Americans must seize their moment in the spotlight to push their agenda, and the only way we can do that is by pressuring lawmakers and voting in politicians who are committed to withering prejudiced institutions.

I encourage those protesting to stay non-violent, but to continue the pressure. Our democracy is imperfect, but it has worked in the past and it will work again.

I know that I could never understand the pain black Americans have suffered for centuries in the United States, but this moment is unique. America is ripe for change and we must take this moment to shake its foundation.

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