Silver City, NM- On Tuesday, February 23rd, you may have noticed a few a few flyers and posters around campus declaring: Black Lives Matter. In fact, they were hard to miss. The message behind the material however may have been harder to see.
“What this day is about is that we are tired of silence.” Nelson Williams III, one of the students behind the event, spoke passionately. “We’re silenced in the justice system, the education system, and the health care system. We’re unapologetically doing what we need to do to break that silence.” Breaking the silence here means that all African Americans have a voice. According to the Black Lives Matter website, the goal is break the silence for women, differently abled, and LGBT within the African American community. This was something that Nelson strongly supported.
“This is about making sure young men and women, and the LGBT communities have a voice.” He continued, “There’s no justice if someone is wrongly gunned down and there’s no legal action against the police. There’s no education when there’s no access to the resources. There’s a cycle of missed education that keep our voices silenced.” Another way Nelson says African American lives are silenced: “A lot of the colleges don’t have diverse facilities. That makes the faculties un-relatable. That’s a way black lives are isolated and silenced.”
The timing of this event was no coincidence and no easy task as Myisha Coston, one of the main student organizers, explained.
“It took a lot of thought and effort to get this planned,” she started, “We wanted our event to stand out from other events that happen around the country. Events like this happen at colleges across the nation so we thought it was time to do something at WNMU.” As you may know, the month of February is Black History Month making it a fitting time to host such an event.
“We talk about the past but there is a generational disconnect between with colored people as a whole. This is a new Civil Rights era and racism is not over.” Nelson said.
One thing that was buzzing around campus in response to the campaign was: all lives matter. Myisha elaborated as to the meaning of the campaign.
“All lives do matter but the focus of today is on black lives. You don’t hear much about Caucasians being shot by the police. People don’t think we matter.”
“Saying all lives matter is shifting the focus and negates the point of today. Yes all lives matter but throwing every one into one group only keeps more people silent.” Nelson continued with the thought.
“A lot of people don’t know how it feels to walk into a room and have all eyes on you, or have the police pull you over for no reason, or even having to worry when you’re just pulling our your ID.” Myisha finished.
At the end of the day, yes all lives do matter but the struggles and problems of a specific group cannot be over looked. That applies to every one of every creed and every color, but it will be said that the silence was broken at WNMU.
Nelson and Myisha would like to thank WNMU for its support, Dr. Emma Baily and Dr. Lydia Huerta for forcing them to be creative, and all the students who helped and showed their support for the event.