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Why was RB silent on Ferguson?

A protester raises her hands in the street as police use tear gas to try to take control of the scene near a Ferguson Police Department squad car after protesters lit it on fire.  RBHS was curiously silent through these events.

Courtesy of MCT Campus (1/13/2015)

A protester raises her hands in the street as police use tear gas to try to take control of the scene near a Ferguson Police Department squad car after protesters lit it on fire. RBHS was curiously silent through these events.

Niko Radicanin, Features Editor

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Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner.

These names have circulated the world and caused controversy globally. They are associated together because they are similar in the case that they are all African Americans between the ages of 12 to 43 – each unarmed –  who have lost their lives to law enforcement.  More importantly, none of the officers responsible for these deaths have been found guilty in a court of law.

These cases have raised discussions about both racial inequality and police brutality.  Protests, both violent and peaceful, followed these verdicts not to indict or prosecute across the country.  Opinions, donations, reports, and information blanketed all forms of social media.  People rallied and unified around shared beliefs.

Though none of these cases occurred in Illinois, protests, die-ins, and marches still happened.  People still cared.  Passionate protesters shut down Lake Shore Drive and ran across the Dan Ryan Expressway.  Thankfully, all of the Chicago protests were peaceful, resulting in only four minor arrests.

What about here at RB?

The demographics of our student body are diverse and each one of us helps make it so.  So, when I sat down with my fellow Clarion staffers – a microcosm of RB – we planned a discussion during class about these events (Ferguson in particular) and the effect it had on our school.  When we went into Thanksgiving Break, social media and the hallways alike were flooded with discussion and opinion.  We planned a staff editorial.

As it turns out, the only thing we talked about in class was the need not to write one.

Our Clarion discussion resulted in a completely different fashion than what I imagined, and it was a big wake up call to me.  It just did not make sense that Clarion – so proud of stating opinions and of equal treatment and demonstrators of change – did not want to write anything or do anything about this issue two weeks after it had happened.  I noticed that our power, inspiration, and motivation died out when we returned.

Do we, as a school, feel too sheltered?  Do we not personally connect with these events?  Are we not educated enough on this issue to act?  Was it just a trending topic that had died down and lost its fuel?  Do we not feel like we can affect the situation?

Through December and into the new year, the issue has continued to develop, but personally I have heard next to nothing in RB’s hallways.  Still, social media is still buzzing months after the death of Michael Brown.

We can’t just forget and move on.

Whether we like it or not, we all lived through this.  It will be in textbooks for our children to learn.  We, as RB students, should not feel as if we are not educated enough.  All of us are fortunate to have access to discussion, to news, to opinion.  Through all of the hash tags and re-tweets, we need to remember that we are standing behind something that is real.

Media has desensitized us more than we realize.  Being trendy and getting temporary buzz from social media is “cool,” but remember that real lives have been affected.  No one can go back and prevent what happened in any of these cases, but we can work towards preventing more of these tragedies in the future.

With the opinions we have at RB alone, we have the potential to make a change.  I know that we care.  I know that we didn’t mean for our opinions to disappear.  Rather, we do not know what to fuel with our voices.  But you have a voice and an opinion.  Don’t let that go to waste.

Too many times, current events come and go, only creating a temporary buzz.  This issue doesn’t have to be one of those events.

Continue the conversation here at Clarion.  Keep talking on social media.  Show up to an AST meeting.  Donate to Black Lives Matter.

If you have an idea, opinion, or view, you can change the world.

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Free of Bull, Full of Bulldogs
Why was RB silent on Ferguson?