#BlackLivesMatter by Khushi Patel

I cannot speak on behalf of the Black community, but I can continue to spread awareness about what is happening. The Black community needs everyone’s help right now during this time. The murder of George Floyd was the tipping point to hundreds of years of injustice and inequality that Black people face every day. Every day. The explicit discrimination that has embodied America for hundreds of years needs to come to an end. It cannot come to an end if everyone is butting heads against each other. We all have one common goal, and that is equity for all.

My social media pages are flooded with links attached on how to donate and sign petitions. I see negative comments like: “Get over it already” and “None of you cared up until now.” This fuels me with rage. Some are tired of seeing and hearing the same things over and over again, but imagine experiencing these things that you hear and see. That is much more exhausting. This is a time where the people need to be united, which is what the goal was supposed to be in the first place. Instead, America became a country where there is extreme division. This isn’t because of politics or culture. This is because we have systems in place that continue to discriminate and racially profile Black Americans. Our criminal justice system continues the oppression by perpetrating the racism that has existed for hundreds of years.

If you are posting on social media simply because it is a “trendy” topic, stop. Be an ally instead. Reach out to your Black friends, donate money, sign petitions, call state legislatures demanding justice, write letters, attend protests, make phone callsーthe list continues. Do something that is going to help bring justice to the community. During this time it is not enough to be not racist, it is time to be anti-racist. Help bring justice to the Black community that you have profited and benefited off of.

Below I will be attaching three links to numerous pages on books about how to be anti-racist, educational materials that teach you about the Black community, petitions, and donation links. These are not all the resources out there, but these were two that I found during my search to be the most helpful. However, there are many more resources out there that compile more information. We need change in this world. Let’s help ignite it.

Entry 1: “Dear Covid 19” by Khushi Patel

Dear COVID-19,

As I write this letter, I look outside my window and see no one, no commotion, no fighting. I see plain empty motel rooms and shiny windows. I can hear the morning birds chirp when I crack open my bedroom window just a little. I find myself baffled at the thought that I no longer wake up to noisy streets, or customers fighting early in the morning. This feeling is strange to me; it may be normal to some that live in a typical neighborhood, but for me it felt odd. Now questions rapidly flood through my mind every day: Is this peace? Is this solitude? Living and working at a local motel can feel unusually comfortable at times because I am never alone. Customers flow in and out of the hotel office connected to my home. I’ve always been surrounded by people, but at the expense of my privacy; if it wasn’t my parents or my brother, I had the last resort of the old woman that lives in room #19. I feel perplexed. It became an uncomfortable feeling because my environment became completely different. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? One underlying question continues to devour my mind: Is it okay if I sit down without the constant demands I’ve experienced in the past sixteen years to read a book, or should I be making phone calls to local politicians and legislators demanding that we do more?

Being able to sit down and write for a school blog feels like a guilty pleasure. I have the ability to make phone calls, to make connections in our school district, to reach out to those who can help, but writing this feels more meaningful to me instead. I wasn’t able to champion a project like this when school was in session. I wasn’t able to shut down the motel and have the chance to go for a stroll outside without the fear of customers glancing at me, so maybe you did something good. I suddenly have more leisure time to read, write, play games, and spend more time with family. I am able to have more time to do things that I enjoy. I realize I took the leisure activities for granted when school was in session, and always prioritized my academics. Now, you, Covid-19, made me see what life has to offer beyond schooling. A sense of freedom from my daily responsibility made my decision to sit down and read a book the clear, obvious option.

The world is learning to adapt to its new life, just like I am. The first week was challenging,
trying to get used to the new routine and balance that everyone in the world had to create for ourselves. It all felt like a dream when I entered the doors of my local supermarket, and saw people ravaging through shelves and fighting over the last gallon of milk. The initial shock of the first week was daunting, but now as week four is closely approaching the world has learned to better cope with itself from the hardship that you’ve caused.

Suddenly instead of worrying about the outside world, and all the commotion about politics,
economics, entertainment etc., the people are worrying about themselves. They are spending more time discovering who they are as individuals. Prior to this epidemic, people were deeply invested in the lives of others, such as celebrities and social media influencers. I am also guilty of dedicating more time to the lives of others than my own. I was interested in whether or not Sanders was surging in polls rather than worrying about my deteriorating mental health from our school shutdown. Now, people have the time to sit down and write about how they are feeling. People feel vulnerable and are trying to make sense of themselves because of you. Having the opportunity to write this helps me authentically express myself, and not be restricted by boundaries, such as school and work that takes up much of our time.

This experience has become a catalyst for people finding the best version of themselves. I thank you for giving us this opportunity to search for our unique identity. You have helped me discover who I am outside of my academic accomplishments. The best thing we can do collectively is to stay at home to keep those who are risking their lives, safe. During this quarantine, take some time to reflect your true self. This experience will continue to change who I am.

Yours truly, Khushi Patel