BLM: PROF. BETH WATKINS
Updated: Oct 22, 2020
Black Lives Matter Protestors in Meadville, Pennsylvania (Photo: Erie News Now)
The public response to the wrongful deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others has attracted international attention to the systemic racism in our justice system, economy, educational and social institutions. Thousands of people across the country and around the world have taken to the streets to peacefully protest the insidious ways in which BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) Americans have been unfairly treated, segregated, and subjected to violence.
A hallmark of the protests is the participation of majorities that cut across racial and ethnic groups to support systemic change.
On May 31 in Meadville, there was a peaceful protest organized by 18-yr-old Jaida Speed, a recent graduate of the Meadville Area Senior High School (MASH), which involved over 150 peaceful protesters.
Since then, there continue to be peaceful protests in Diamond Park on Fridays, led by local supporters of "Black Lives Matter" and "Showing Up For Racial Justice Crawford County."
Tiffany Onyeiwu addressed Crawford Central School Board on Monday regarding concerns about the district’s handling of issues related to diversity and equality. MIKE CROWLEY /Meadville Tribune
Bookending the month, on June 22, rising MASH senior Tiffany Onyeiwu represented a group of 10 HS students in a public presentation to the Crawford Central School Board, where she presented a list of a dozen suggestions for diversifying curriculum and fostering "more inclusive and empathetic schools."
The work of Jaida Speed and Tiffany Onyeiwu show how the youth in our local community can lead by example to address this critical need for change and acknowledgement, and how we can learn from their courage to organize and speak out.
~~ Prof. Beth Watkins (Professor, Theater)
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