Go to Twitter. Search the hashtag: #standupcolumbia . It will give you a look at the peaceful Black Lives Matter rally which took place yesterday at both the Lakefront and the Mall. You will see photos, view video clips, read statements paraphrased from speakers. This event was planned and led by students and young adults.
Local social media has been having a field day recently talking about those crazy young people throwing common sense to the winds to play Pokemon Go. I guess there's more happening in Columbia than that. New game crazes are fun, don't get me wrong, but what got people out yesterday, on one of the hottest days of the summer, was not a game.
It's life and death. And these young people want us to look right at it. They don't want us to be able to distance ourselves and look away. Let's face it, if we have the personal space to feel comfortably separated from these instances of violence and injustice, then that's a privilege that we have that is denied to many.
I'm sharing the one tweet that stunned me:
Woman who pretended to shoot us as we marched, someone ID her asap.
Really? I want to believe that it can't be true, that it's a misunderstanding. Who on earth would think it was okay to "pretend to shoot" young people during a peaceful community protest? This is Columbia! This is not supposed to happen here!
But of course it happens here. The words of the students tell us that it is happening every day, in big ways and small. And these young people want us to look right at it, look at ourselves and our community. They came out to hold up a mirror to our community.They are--peacefully, respectfully--daring us not to look away.