What I Learned in Isolation
A change that had to happen
September 15, 2020
It was a couple of days after George Floyd’s death was made public that I watched a live stream of a Black trans-woman activist talking about how distraught she was about the current event that had just taken place a few days earlier. She expressed her sadness and anger about the state of the world. We’re in the 21st century and people of color still have to fight for their lives every single day. She started mentioning names — lots and lots of names.
“Breonna Taylor, Atatina Jefferson, Aura Rosser, Stephon Clark, Botham Jean, Alton Sterling…” she said, but she didn’t stop there. She kept reading names out loud for the next five minutes.
At first I thought, ‘Wow, that’s so many names that have to be from the past 10 years.’ But no, all the names she had mentioned were of Black people who had been killed by police in the last four years.
After that, I spent the next couple of days doing my own research on police brutality and the struggles that people of color went through. The things I learned were things I thought only happened in movies, but, boy, it turns out these ideas and situations are alive and well.
I realized that I had never taken the time to learn about these issues because I was not personally affected by them. I was sitting in the comfort of my own ignorance and privilege that I did not take the time to see what chaos had broken out outside my own peaceful bubble.
Not too long after, the protest broke out and the world arose from its nap. It felt as if a fire had broken out. It was a fire that, as badly as some people wanted to put it out, they couldn’t. This fire just kept getting bigger and bigger and soon enough it spread across the Earth and no amount of water could even attempt to tame it.
Everyone seemed to have something to say about it. Some argued that it was just a few bad cops hurting innocent people, while others argued that you can’t have ‘a few bad cops’ just like you can’t have ‘a few bad surgeons’ or ‘a few bad pilots.’
It took me a while to wrap my head around everything and begin to process that the world I swore was so perfect was going up into flames. I took a few days to recollect my thoughts and opinions and once I spoke out about it the first time, I couldn’t stop. My Instagram stories would soon be flooded with Black Lives Matter messages and trying to preach to people that change starts with the youth.
It took me a while to wrap my head around everything and begin to process that the world I swore was so perfect was going up into flames. I took a few days to recollect my thoughts and opinions and once I spoke out about it the first time, I couldn’t stop.”
— Silvia Martinez
At first I received a lot of mixed responses. Some people telling me that they agreed with me and that because of me they were motivated to speak out, while others were upset that someone as young as me could even possibly have an opinion on an issue as big as that. Nevertheless, I continued to speak on my opinions and preach to people that change starts with us, the youth, and that it is up to us to make a change.
This quarantine taught me about, not just the world around me, but also about me, my core values and beliefs. It opened my eyes and made me realize that ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is impotence. It’s time that we start making a change, a change for the better, because it’s true what they say. Change starts with you.
Take 30 minutes out of your day to inform yourself about what is happening in the world. Educate not only yourself, but those around you.