WS takes action for BLM

During+the+June+10th+Springfield+Solidarity+demonstration%2C+protestors+march+across+Rolling+Rd+and+Old+Keene+Mill+Rd.+People+from+WS+and+the+area+joined+in+wearing+all+black+and+carrying+signs+in+solidarity.

Courtesy of Rebekah Corbin

During the June 10th Springfield Solidarity demonstration, protestors march across Rolling Rd and Old Keene Mill Rd. People from WS and the area joined in wearing all black and carrying signs in solidarity.

Saharla Mohamoud, ETC. Editor

For many students, taking action for a cause they feel passionate about is essential, and the Black Lives Matter movement proves to be no different. 

The Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) was founded in 2013 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the death of Trayvon Martin, but has blown up in recent months due to the death of George Floyd, and has sparked mass protests all around the country involving an estimated 15-26 million Americans. According to the BLM organization, the movement’s purpose is “to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities.” 

For POC (people of color), and specifically black students in West Springfield, BLM is a movement that they can personally connect  their experiences to being a POC in America, and how it can impact their livelihood compared to their white counterparts.

“I’m black, and I know how it feels to have other people discriminate against you,” said junior Breana Barnhill. “I hope other people don’t have to deal with that.” 

The BLM movement has brought about a new wave of civil rights activism in America. It has allowed the stories of many other victims of police brutality like Breonna Taylor, Elijah Mcclain, and Natasha McKenna to be recognized and given their moments of support and respect. This new recognition has also allowed the families and friends of these victims to have unique opportunities to fight for their loved ones’ justice, and has further pushed many students, like junior Christina Spirides, towards fighting for a change to our current justice system.

“I think it’s important to have [a system] that will protect them- if something does happen,” said Spirides. “Because right now, [our current justice system] is just not good enough.”

Just in the Springfield area, many students have spoken out against police brutality and the unjust treatment of POC people in America by donating, protesting for the cause, and spreading awareness. Protests have been popping up all over the DMV area, but the June 10th protest by Rolling Rd-Old Keene Mill Rd saw multiple WS students and community members showing out to protest. With many students around the WS area, these protests and outcries were a long time coming, something they anticipated to come years ago, and felt called to attend.

“I think [the need to protest] was just a gut feeling,” said junior Rebekah Corbin. “I knew that it was time for the truth.”

People from all around Fairfax County made sure that their message was heard in order to unify under one common goal to create change.

“There were youth leaders, and there were people who lived here their entire lives and experienced racism,” said Barnhill. “We marched to the police station, and there were people driving past with their children with signs, and there were people handing water to us.”

Many protestors, however, made sure to take extra measures to match up to social distancing standards, such as keeping a distance from one another and wearing a mask at all times. Even with these concerns, the protests persisted through regardless.

“It was a super positive environment; everyone was doing a pretty good job at social distancing, staying six feet apart,” said junior Kelsea Roper-Devincenti, “I think that there would be a lot more people if we weren’t in a pandemic.”

Out of all the mass protests and outrage, students like Barnhill have one wish from their community.

“[WS] should reprehend racism in our school and believe POC students when they tell them about it.”

 For the protesters and supporters of BLM, the most important thing is that the movement’s fundamental message gets heard over anything else. 

“The BLM movement is simple and self-explanatory,” said Corbin, “All we need is love, togetherness, and equality.”