Her name is Morgan. She is a fifteen year-old African American woman who likes to cook, play basketball, and sing. She is shy, but a lively and graceful butterfly once you get to know her. But she is also an eagle - she is the definition of strength. When you are born in a country that calls themselves "The Land of the Free," yet they seem to take every chance they get to slander your rights, you have to be an eagle. You have to be strong and you have spread your wings. I compare Morgan to an eagle because it is the national emblem for the United States of America, and America was built on the backs of Morgan's ancestors.
Q: Do you celebrate any traditions that stem from your African American culture?
Q: Do you feel safe showing off your culture? Or do you believe non-POC's (People of Color) will shut you down for it?
A: Sometimes, I feel like people with shut me down for it. My mom and I go to the store together, and a lot of times, we feel like people are looking at us and whispering racial slurs or racial comments about us.
Q: Are these people at the store who you feel make these comments white?
Q: When was the first time you head about the Black Lives Matter movement? Can you remeber having a significant reaction?
A: The first time I heard about the Black Lives Matter movement was after the murder of Trayvon Martin. I remember being really upset because the media manipulated the situation. While the reality was that Trayvon Martin was a black male trying to buy some skittles in the middle of the night, George Zimmerman someone came up with this story that he had a gun and tried to kill Zimmerman. However, it was proved that Trayvon didn't have a gun, and even if he did, Florida is a open carry state. There didn't seem like any reason for Zimmerman to feel unsafe, although that was his defense in court because in Florida, if you feel unsafe, you can use any means of self-defense necessary. But if that had been a white male, I just don't think that would've happened or even would've been an issue.
Q: What is your interpretation of the Black Lives Matter movement?
A: I feel happy that people want to stand up for black lives because I feel as though our lives are underappreciated and misrepresented.
Q: If you could describe the deaths of Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, just recently Terrence Crutcher, and so many other African Americans, in one word or one phrase, what would it be?
A: Disgusting. It's disgusting to me how many members of law enforcement have killed innocent black lives and then tried to use cover-ups to manipulate us.
Q: Do you feel safe around members of law enforcement? If so, why or why not?
A: Yes and no. I go to church with a lot of police officers, and I feel safe around them. I mean, I guess I could just say yes. I think I feel safe around police officers in general.
Q: If you could say anything to the law enforcement community with a guarantee of safety, what would you tell them?
A: I would just tell them to be careful and mindful of the correct situations in which they are allowed to use their firearms and situations in which use of a firearm is deemed unneccessary.
Q: How does it affect you when someone says All Lives Matter rather than Black Lives Matter? What does it make you feel?
A: It makes me feel immensely disappointed when someone speaks over the Black community by saying All Lives Matter. When I say Black Lives Matter, I'm not saying everyone elses' lives don't matter. I'm just saying if All Lives really did matter, then why are we allowing officers to get away with murder when it's the very thing they're supposed to protect us against?
Q: Have you ever been in a situation where you've feared for your life because of the color of your skin?
A: Yes. Like I said before, when my mom and I go to the store, we often hear people make racial slurs or comments about us. This makes me scared because I don't know if they're going to act on their feelings or act on the racial remarks they are making.
Q: You take your religious faith very seriously - do you ever consult with God about these now seemingly everyday occurences within the Black community? If so, what do you ask him?
A: Yes, I talk with him about it all the time. I just want to know why so many African Americans are getting killed. I mean, I know people of other races are facing murder as well, but why is it that we only see the murder of people in the black community in the media?
Q: If you could say one thing to the African American community, what would it be?
A: I would tell the community to just be careful when in a situation that involves members of law enforcement. There are just some police officers who have internalized racism and/or internalized bias and who can't tell the difference between a threatening and a non-threatening situation, so just always try to remain careful and respectful.
Q: Last question - At this current moment in time in America, would you say Black Lives Matter or do All Lives Matter?
A: Black Lives Matter.