Opinion: Youth activists have power


Claire Tseng

During the past few weeks, people of various backgrounds protested to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

You can’t say that protests don’t do anything after the words “George Floyd,” “justice,” and “Black Lives Matter” have been ringing in the streets for the past two weeks. These words are part of a movement that is soon to become a cornerstone in American history.

Within a week of George Floyd’s murder, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder charge was increased, and three additional Minneapolis officers were charged for being affiliated with Floyd’s death. Furthermore, Breonna Taylor’s case was reopened, and communities of color in Los Angeles received millions of dollars out of the city’s police department budget. These changes were caused by the protests that flooded streets across the country. People of all ages, ethnicities, races, sexualities, and religions swarmed to these protests to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

I believe that the strong-minded youth have propelled this movement to where it is today and beyond. This generation has some of the most prominent activists and many advocates for change. They don’t only want and fight for a difference in the community, but also the country, and ultimately, the world.

Emma Wang, a rising sophomore, attended two protests and signed numerous petitions in the past few weeks. She believes that the youth in this movement influenced much of the older generation to come out and to begin to understand the meaning of equality.

“Someone said at a protest in Palo Alto that the generations before us were too scared to protest. I’m not sure if that’s true, but this generation can spread awareness quicker,” Wang said.

Our use of social media has increased the spread of petitions to sign, numbers to call and text, Black-owned businesses to support, and much more.

Wang further emphasized the feeling that many youths are experiencing.

“We [the youth] aren’t fearless, but we want to make a change now,” Wang said.

Some may argue that activism is a phase that teens go through when they are low on patience and high on adrenaline. I don’t believe this description is one-size-fits-all; I think that this generation is something different that will give the world a breath of fresh air.

The youth today have put in the effort to not only promote and spread awareness but to also educate themselves about the issue at hand.

When asked about how one could get their voice heard, Wang highlighted the importance of gaining knowledge and educating yourself about the problem that sparked the movement.

“Black Lives Matter opened my eyes because I knew that there was a little bit of racism in Belmont and San Carlos, but I didn’t know how much racism there was. I feel like we’re in a bubble, and, if we can’t break out of it, we’re just going to have the same mindset and believe there’s no racism here,” Wang said.

Wang firmly believes that educating others and building a better understanding is the key to guiding a movement towards success.

“We have to get educated to make this movement go forward and make a change,” Wang said.