Until you live the life we live

To The Editor,

This academic year has been very different for me. As a senior I have been very vocal about my thoughts and emotions regarding race, Simmons on race, and the ignorant and disrespectful comments that I have heard and seen walking the halls of Simmons, especially since it “prides itself on diversity and always keeps an open mind.”

The night that the verdict came out, I wasn’t shocked, but I cried. I cried for every black mother who has lost a child to injustice. Sure, the legal system said blah blah blah… but there is a difference between shooting and shooting to kill and that is something that I need some of these students at Simmons and the people of the outside community to look past their white privilege and dig deep down to see why people of color are outraged. Michael Brown was not the only case. There was Amadou Diallo, Oscar Grant, Jon Ferrell, Alan Blueford, Chavis Carter, Eric Garner, Sean Bell, Tim Stansbury, Ezell Ford, Ramarley Graham, Dane Scott, Phillip Pannell, Patrick Dorismond, Wendell Allen, Victor Steen, Kendrec McDade, Kimani Gray, Armand Bennett, Derrick Williams, John Crawford, Gus Rugley, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice and many more. All of these boys/men were Black, unarmed, and killed by Police or died in custody under questionable circumstances. For those who have been adamant and saying “Michael Brown deserved to die because he was wrong” or “he was a thug” please do your research about the names that I have listed above, then comment about this topic.

Myself and 20 other Simmons took to the streets of Boston Monday night and I also took to the streets Tuesday night and stood in front of City Hall and the State House and marched down to Interstate 95 and the Mass Pike and sat on the ground, shutdown the city and the highway, held traffic for 51 miles because I am tired! The fear of being potentially arrested did not even cross my mind once, because my people are tired. I am tired of waking up in the morning and being reminded of the color of my skin. I am tired of leaving my house and thinking “Am I going to make it back, did I tell my mom I loved her before I left?” I am tired of my brothers being described as “Black, 6’2, hoodie wearing and baggy pants saggin’.” Tired of white people using the word “thug or ghetto” to describe my people. Tired of black boys not being able to look at officers in the eyes because they are viewed as “threatening.” Tired of my brothers having to do a mental checklist of all the places they’ve been and the people who can corroborate their stories when a police officer walks in their direction. When your body is left out in the summer sun for hours and then packed into an unmarked SUV instead of an ambulance, can you still say that race isn’t an issue? I am tired of hearing about affirmative action and how my people are taking up space for other people.

So, please, don’t tell me you don’t understand why this is a big deal or why students of color are reacting the way they are. Until you live the life we live, you can’t comment on how my people deal with issues like these. It is really unfortunate that 50 years after the civil rights movement, we are still having the same conversations. We have to do better. Instead of coming head to head about who is right and who is wrong, because to be honest, none of us were there to see what really happened, let’s come together to see what we can do to make a change. Monday night and Tuesday night were powerful and seeing people of different ages, different backgrounds, different races come together for the same cause was very emotional but the fight doesn’t stop there. Let’s use our energy to not make posts on social media but instead educating others about what is going on and work towards a better environment for the next generation and generations after.

— Sandy Fonesca-Lopes