Havertown Marches in a Step Towards Justice

Protestors+in+the+Havertown+Stands+With+Black+Lives+Matter+March+kneel+for+eight+minutes+and+forty-six+seconds%2C+the+amount+of+time+that+a+police+officer+knelt+on+George+Floyd%27s+neck.+

Gina Ngo

Protestors in the Havertown Stands With Black Lives Matter March kneel for eight minutes and forty-six seconds, the amount of time that a police officer knelt on George Floyd's neck.

Sara Samimi, Staff

 
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Joining with thousands of protestors across the United States, students at Haverford High School and other members of the community marched on Darby Road, Sunday, June 7, to protest the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. Organized by the African American Cultural Enrichment (AACE) Club and its allies, the Havertown Stands With Black Lives Matter March began at the Haverford Township School District Administrative Office and ended at the Haverford Township Police Department. 

While passing by Haverford Middle School and Haverford High School, the demonstrators spoke the final words of George Floyd: “I can’t breathe.” To show their support, everyone knelt down for eight minutes and forty-six seconds, the amount of time that a police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck. Haverford students spoke about their experiences and memories in order to promote awareness. 

Protestors march along Darby Road towards the Haverford Township Police Department in Havertown. Gina Ngo

Racism has always been a part of United States history; even today, people look at each other differently based upon religion, skin color, or ethnicity. The goal of the march was for people to acknowledge that they should not only recognize the problem of racism, but they must also make efforts to end the stigma. Ella Mottola, a rising senior who helped organize the march, wants to help promote equality for all people, regardless of their race. She wants to see a change in the way people speak about black lives in our community and the actions they choose to uphold. We are now in the 21st century; it is time to eliminate racial bias.

Haverford’s community response to the march was a clear message that hate will have no home in Havertown. Mottola said, “I was in awe of how many people came out. I have never seen an event like this one occur in Havertown and the amount of support we had was the greatest thing to see.”

Graduating senior Kyaira Mitchell also helped arrange the march to fight for equality within the community and the country.  She wanted to be a part of the cause to show that no one deserves the brutal treatment that those with dark skin have received. She said, “The black community has been dealing with police brutality and inequality for too long! For so many years, we had to learn to respect people who don’t always respect us because of the color of our skin. It hurts to know that people don’t want there to be a change and don’t want to understand the struggles the black community goes through because of this.” 

If there is anything Mitchell has taken away from the protests, it is that they can be peaceful instead of violent. Even though some people may disagree with the cause, Mitchell has not lost hope that they could change their minds. There are different ways individuals can help support the Black Lives Matter movement. She added, “I plan to continue to sign petitions and get the information needed out on social media. I want my peers to continue to help the black community express their problems and really get equality to happen in the U.S. So, I plan to keep sharing everything I can on all of my social media platforms and really spread the word.”  As a person who comes from a mixed background, Mitchell understands the atmosphere and shares her ideas to help promote awareness.

Fellow marcher Quentin Ryan attended the peaceful protest in honor of the lives ruined by police brutality. Empathic, but never truly able to understand, Quentin began to read more on the topic to get a deeper understanding from the victims’ point of view. He aimed to support the movement and the stricken families of the victims. Learning from past knowledge, Ryan believes that people who have extreme amounts of power often misuse it for their own benefit, just as the police have been doing to people of color (POC). With future victims at risk, Ryan wants to use his white privilege to rid racism from the nation.  

After the large turnout of young protesters, Ryan is positive that it could turn the page in our history. “Something I learned from the march was the number of supporters in Havertown. I remember walking home from school and seeing multiple signs that state, “We support our police” and such. Those signs left me slightly hopeless for our town, but this protest really turned it around. I believe after people educate themselves about the systematic racism built into our law and justice system, they will start to change their opinions. It was also very powerful seeing so many young people there, giving me lots of hope for our generation.”

The march in Havertown has made clear that the community stands against racism and wants to ensure that it has no home here. It was just one of many important steps that must be taken to end discrimination and promote equal treatment of all people regardless of their ethnicity and skin color.  

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