Power to The Youth

By Emily Diaz

I went to my first protest with my aunt. She suggested we go to protest against the harassment and criminalization of black and brown trans individuals. At first, I was hesitant to attend any protests because of the pandemic but I reconsidered. I felt it’s important to support black trans men and women, and because we are living in a time where activism is crucial in order to spread awareness. This protest took place a couple of weeks after George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis. I was angry. I was angry at the continuous systematic oppression that is enforced by the police and protected by our government.

Day Before The Protest –

The whole week I felt as if everything that could go wrong this year, has gone wrong. After I heard about what happened to Breonna Taylor, I wanted to do more than sign petitions, I wanted to get up and do something. I downloaded Tik Tok and  I was able to see protests from across the country using this platform. I saw things that no person of color should have to endure, or any person for that matter. So as soon as my aunt told me about a protest she planned on attending, and after careful consideration, I jumped on the opportunity. The night before the protest we stayed up till midnight making our signs, after trial and error we finally finished.

Day Of The Protest – 

We met in the Belmont and Clark train stop and then started our journey. We walked for hours in the blazing sun but I didn’t mind because I was surrounded by people who also stand up and fight for black and brown trans rights, gotta love collective power. The protest we attended had a large group of people, some were passing out water bottles, extra masks, snacks and signs. Others took pictures of different signs that protesters had brought with them. We chanted, “hey, hey, ho, ho, the police department has got to go” and, “say his name, George Floyd”. There were people who looked out of their windows and cheered us on, and of course the side eyes from the Karens and Chads having brunch.

Overall Experience

As a Gen Z, I believe it is important to go to protests and do whatever we can to support the black lives matter movement and strive for a better future for, not only our generation, but also for the next generations after us. It is time to get up and be civically engaged and participate in things like protesting because “not being racist” is not enough. Overall, being able to go to the protest (while also social distancing) was the greatest experience and I would do it again.