• Gator Quad


Updated: Jul 30, 2020

Thought Piece: Mark Pygas. Don Lemon says there's two viruses killing Americans: 'COVID-19 and racism'. Megaphone. June 2020.

File photo by Ryan Hagen, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG

From March 2020, the United States of America came to a standstill as it suffered the growing spread of the COVID-19 invasion. The pandemic has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and its deadly expansion continues as no vaccine has been discovered yet.

To add to the darkness, the number of black lives claimed by systemic racism is climbing the charts as well. When I read the headline of CNN news anchor Don Lemon’s report ("Two deadly viruses are killing Black Americans: COVID-19 and Racism"), the words echoed in my mind long after. I thought about those who viewed the protesters as irresponsible for going out at a time like this. “Ironic that both racism and COVID-19 spell possible death for black Americans ” I thought to myself. Soon a vaccine will be made and we will be able to put COVID behind us. The same can’t be said about the systemic racism that plagues this country.

Racism has always been a part of America’s culture; it’s a part of this country’s foundation and therefore can never truly be eradicated unless we dismantle the systems that have upheld white privilege and power and therefore, made it difficult to abolish racism.

The protester Ieshia Evans being detained in Baton Rouge, La., on July 9, 2016 Photo Credit...Jonathan Bachman/Reuters

There have been historical lynchings of Blacks, the filling of the country’s prisons with black bodies too poor to afford a proper trial, and countless instances of police brutality against Black people in America and our judicial system continues to fail us every time the perpetrators of racial injustice are not put behind bars. We’ve been at this fight for decades- a fight demanding to be treated equally to our white counterparts, a fight to establish that we too are human. We’ve tried the peaceful protests, knowing from experience that if we resisted violently it would get us no father than sharing the same drinking fountain and riding the same bus.

It seems as though 400 years of slavery wasn’t enough- and yes I’m bringing it up- America has made it so that black people can’t even take a jog in our own neighborhoods. We are angry because it seems as though our years of peaceful protests have been in vain. Now, with force, we are demanding that this country put an end to the unjust killing of Black people. We are declaring that enough is enough and we won’t be silenced anymore.

I went out to protest in the midst of this pandemic, even though NYC is a hotspot, because I know that while soon enough there will be a vaccination for COVID-19- the same cannot be said for the disease of racism in America. Until it is prepared to face its own sickness, I MARCH, I CHANT, I RESIST to say Black Lives Matter. Today. Tomorrow and forever.

~~ Jessie Nunoo (Class of 2023)

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