Black Lives Matter protest in Celina, Ohio | Photo by Arienne Childrey
My name is Roxanne Roessner. I am a 20-year-old white cis female who attended the Black Lives Matter Protest in Celina, Ohio, home of the Lake Campus.
As a Junior at Wright State Lake Campus, I work as a reporter for the Wright State Guardian and employee of the Coldwater Public Library. I am using my privilege and position to help spread awareness of the Black Lives Matter Movement and educate those who are open to learning more about the topic.
Why I went
If I did not go, who would take my place? Who would hear my voice if it is not there to chant, to yell, to sing? I went to the protest because I want to help people. The murder of George Floyd was not the first, nor will it be the last sadly, but nothing will change if people stay silent.
“Silence is betrayal,” read signs at the protest.
A black woman lay face down on the ground in protest and I tiptoed around them. I was unsure of how to take their message. Really, that’s what most protests are about. We have messages that we want heard by others, but people are nervous to hear them. They don’t want to be labeled as uneducated in fields that have never affected them. No one wants to be told they’re wrong, so it’s easier to never learn. This is where the problem lies. We are all afraid, but some fear for their lives while others fear judgement.
We all stood outside of the Celina Courthouse and chanted, “Black Lives Matter”, “No justice, no peace, no racist police” and “I can’t breathe”. Several people stepped up to share their stories and, though at times it was difficult to hear, everyone listened.
“We are not here to hurt – we are here because we are hurt,” said Kelsey Swann, another protester.
Counter-protesters held signs saying, “Protest the protesters, the NRA way”. That’s a lot to unpack. What the NRA has to do with the murder of Black people is beyond me. Perhaps it’s more telling of their stance than it is of ours. People showed up with guns and combat knives while others had bags stocked with water bottles and sunscreen. Look hard at these two groups.
“If you protest a protest to end racism, you might be a racist,” said a fellow protester.
They left to cheers of love and then we all walked. Cars honked at us and whether it was in solidarity or not, we all hollered. We baked in the sun and cars pulled up to drop off bottles of water and cookies. Times like these make me pause because we are stronger together and we can make a difference.
Black Lives Matter
“But, Roxanne, All Lives Matter”.
Say you have five children and one falls and scrapes their knee. You give them a bandage to help. You do not give a bandage to the other four. It’s not that you love them less, it’s because they do not need help. The child hurting and bleeding needs help.
To support All Lives Matter is to undermine Black Lives Matter. This is not about you. This is about those who have been mocked, profiled and killed for their skin tone. This. Is. Not. About. You.
People want to help but are unsure because there is no set plan to end racism.
Here are a few ideas I cooked up:
Donate, protest peacefully, demilitarize the police, call out racism in your own life, hold people accountable for what they say and do, vote for policies and politicians who share your values, sign petitions, listen to stories, share your own experiences, educate others, stand up for everyone.
Don’t leave it for someone else to do – do it yourself, for yourself and for those who cannot. Be the voice for the voiceless, a neighbor, brother, and sister to those who have no one.
2020 isn’t the year to end us all. No, 2020 is the year for change.