Atlanta Teen Voices / all

Story by Sarah Lokenauth, 10th grade, Atlanta International School

Art illustration by Aiden Ventimiglia

It’s Not OK [EDITORIAL]

by share

I’m 16 years old and I — I just can’t look at another news report tell me a person of color has been murdered, I can’t go to my Instagram again only to find 20 new posts telling me how they were murdered and why. I simply can’t just do that I need to try something else. So I’m writing about my anger, my fear, and how something needs to give because I still wake up and see that more people of color have been abused for being trans, being Asian, being Black all things that are natural and a part of life. 

I have to try something different because it feels like nothing is truly changing — there are no new laws being made, and people of color are still being abused/killed regularly, and I need to at least attempt to get a different result. A result that has no more people of color being killed mercilessly because I don’t want to become accustomed to this. I don’t want to reach 18, 21, 30 years old and consider fearing for my life an everyday thing like eating breakfast. Hence, I am putting out there my anger and my fear, because I feel like I want to explode and so many of our lawmakers still don’t seem to care that people of color are being murdered. 

We live in a society today where we turn on the news, look on the screen, see some whacko has gotten a gun and killed some people. The thing is, why are we at a point where it happens this regularly, where it isn’t a surprise, where the country we live in chooses to prepare schools with gun drills instead of giving a psych exam with each gun purchase or just strengthening our gun laws? It is infuriating and terrifying because you have to ask yourself, when I grow up will I be one of those names on the screen? 

My next issue is that people somehow seem to think that people of color being murdered is a political issue. Well, IT’S NOT! When someone’s right to live, to enjoy time with their family, to enjoy everything the world has to offer is taken away, it isn’t a partisan issue. It is a human issue, it is a compassion issue, it is a basic moral issue, and yet we treat it like it’s political. The only thing political about any of this is how politicians have yet to strengthen our gun laws, have yet to stop racial profiling, have yet to make a country where everyone can feel safe. 

Now, I am coming to a close and let me be clear: I know I didn’t specify one issue or another. I know I simply discussed how people of color being murdered is messed up, and I also know I could go into a slew of other things like police brutality and Asian hate crimes, but right now I just need something to give, something to change, because currently our country is broken. 

So this goes out to my teens feeling hopeless, infuriated, or just plain sad: Do something different, whether it’s write a letter to your congressman, start an Instagram page, write an article, start reposting, keep reposting, or create one of the posts like the ones you repost. Just do something different because it would seem our leadership is still refusing to hear us. So all I can say is that we have to try to be a lot louder. I’m not a revolutionary and I’m not trying to be, but I am a kid who needs to believe that as humans we do have basic compassion, and that we are better than this.

 

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