The Time America (and Clemson) Didn’t Look Away

June 23, 2020

Intern Insight By Brooke Bailey

Communication Intern, Student Athlete (Volleyball), Protestor at Clemson Community Demonstration

Brooke Bailey at Clemson Community Demonstration

Some of the most important people in my life have been affected by racism and it hurts me to know that this is still happening. One thing I have recently learned from the black people in my life is that we should all continue to have open hearts and continue to learn. Finding sources that educate us on racism and how to genuinely become anti-racist is the first step in our journey to a better world. I see so many people post on social media about the systemic racism in our country, but it is not enough. To make a change we need to take action, which is exactly what the group of student-athletes who organized the demonstration were doing.

As I sat in the grass of Bowman field surrounded by thousands of members from the Clemson community, I could not help but shed several tears. At first I could not pinpoint where these emotions were coming from, similar to how I have been feeling for the last month or so. As Darien Rencher spoke about being a young Black man in the United States, we all felt his emotion and passion about racism in 2020. He titled his speech, “The Time America Didn’t Look Away,” he talked about how for some reason this time around change is coming and we could all feel it. Regardless of what happened several years before, when “Black Lives Matter” and the “I Can’t Breathe” movements first surfaced, today people cannot look away.

We are demanding a change for the better. We demand justice for the black lives which have left this earth too soon because of ignorance and ego. We demand equality for all humans who walk this earth, no matter the color of their skin or where they come from. We demand that those who do not understand have open hearts and open minds to be able to learn about the injustices happening in our communities.

Like Trevor said, as white men and women we have experienced an entirely different America than our Black brothers and sisters. Because of this horrifying fact we understand that we will never understand, but choosing to stand with our friends and family, and those who have fallen to the great injustices is what America needs. As the Clemson community came together that warm summer evening, we chose to live in solidarity and walk with purpose. We honored the innocent lives that we have lost, and we looked within ourselves to hope and pray that all parts of racism be erased from our hearts. I am proud to say that I am a part of the generation that will no longer allow racism to infiltrate our communities and our hearts. Often we don’t realize the beliefs we have until we are confronted with life changing events or education. Being vulnerable and willing to learn will help all of us create a safe environment for every human being. The unity seen at the peaceful protest was overwhelming and filled my heart with hope for a better tomorrow.

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