A peaceful protestor holds a sign reading “Black Lives Matter.”
Hollywood High School

LA youth on recent shootings: Hashtags aren’t saving lives

Shaquan Wilson was on her way to work Friday morning, after hearing the news of another black man gunned down in Minnesota, just the night before. When she pulled up to her usual parking space, she saw five television news vans parked in front of the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, across the street from her job.

People hadn’t arrived yet, but during her lunch break at 11 A.M., organizers had quickly set up a demonstration for the recent deaths of black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Falcon Heights, Minnesota.

Wilson, 21, who was there to show support, was just one among many other young people who showed up in front of the LAPD headquarters during a recruit graduation.

“Everybody puts up ‘black lives matter,’ but no one does anything about it. [Putting] #BlackLivesMatter doesn’t matter because, Trayvon Martin is still dead, all the other people are still dead. That hashtag isn’t saving lives. Unless you do something,” she said.

Young people from all backgrounds gathered along the LAPD’s headquarters on 1st St. in Downtown LA, to show their support for the lives lost.

“No matter how much they tell us, ‘Oh we believe in equality, you guys are equal,’ we’re never going to be equal, unless we stand up for our equal rights. We are that voice, and we show that we are together,” she said.

Demonstrators, some as young as 8 years old, arrived with posters and cellphones, ready to document their time in front of the building. Chants of “black lives matter” were heard later in the morning after demonstrators crowded around a television news truck.

Wilson, also a mother of a 2-year-old, described the intersection of being a young black person and a mother during this turbulent time in America.

“I have a family. If that was my daughter’s father, I would be extremely devastated. You gotta be that peace you want to see. You gotta stand up,” she said.

Badi Ramos, 18, headed to the demonstration after getting out of school this morning. A recent graduate of Aspire Pacific Academy, he has already begun thinking about the implications his generation’s actions can have on the future.

“The reason I’m here is because I care about the future generation. Might as well sacrifice right now, for the future. Because right now kids in elementary don’t know the reality,” Ramos said.

Ramos is a resident of Huntington Park, a community with a median annual household income of 34,777 and 77 homicides since 2000, knows the injustices that can run rampant in poor communities of color. He aims to educate himself so he can inform his community about injustices.

“I might as well put my voice up right now so the future kids can have their future voice. Even though it hasn’t happened to your family, you might as well step up right now in the present, and make a better future,” he said.

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