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“Silence is Betrayal”: Using your voice to incite change


The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement swept the world and made its impression on the Wright State University (WSU) community. Celina, OH, the home of the Lake Campus, held a BLM march in June 2020. Members and supporters of the Black Community continue to fight for their voices to be heard.

Black lives matter

After leaving the continent and doing work with social justice, Wilson returned to Mercer County, home of the Wright State Lake Campus, just in time for the BLM march in Celina.

“I always have this fear, especially with young people, that passion dies rather quickly. People become passionate about things because it’s on the news and gaining a lot of attention, but it dies quickly. That’s why I first said no to the Black Lives Matter opportunities because I didn’t want to put in the effort for something that would be short-lived,” said Wilson.

Wilson decided to speak up about BLM and their experiences with racism at the Celina BLM march on June 15. Wilson believed that they and others who have experienced racism should speak up against it and that they wanted to use their voice. The rallying cry at several BLM events was, “Silence is betrayal.”

On June 19, a few days after the Celina BLM march, Wright State University President Sue Edwards tweeted, “Today we pause to reflect on the significance of this day and what it meant 155 years ago, what it means today, and how we might take action to make our society one of equity & justice for all. #Juneteenth #BLM #NoPlaceForHateAtWrightState”.

Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of those held in slavery in the United States. Because of movements like BLM, more people are being exposed to black culture and learning what may have been previously ignored.

While some prefer to stay away from discussions of race and racism, BLM has opened the door for those who want to confront the issues head-on. Facebook groups, like Black Lives Matter – Mercer County, provide a space for people to speak about BLM and continue to be active in the movement. It discusses injustices committed against black people and those who protest the unjust nature of racial targeting.

“Racism does exist and it’s not something that only happens ‘over there’ or to someone else. It’s something that people have been and are experiencing here within our own communities. For some reason in Mercer County, we have always been really good at turning a blind eye to it, and it’s been here forever, we’re just pros at ignoring it,” said Wilson.

The people’s response

“For people who don’t support BLM, I guess I have to ask, where does that leave me? How do I fit into your life if you don’t support my own life?” said Wilson.

“For people who don’t support BLM, I guess I have to ask, where does that leave me? How do I fit into your life if you don’t support my own life?” Wilson said.

Director of Administration through the Solution Movement Nicol Oller has been heavily involved with the Black Community and activism for her whole life. Oller’s family attended

Martin Luther King Jr. marches, growing up to show support for the Black Community and to bring attention to the work that still needs to be done.

“As a future educator, I can’t sit back. I need my students to know that no matter what happens, I will always be there for them. I’ve made a big point to be heavily involved. The very next day I went to a protest in Dayton and we were tear-gassed. At that point I thought, ‘I’m doing nothing wrong,’ and this was why I feel like I have to do this,” said Oller.

Oller has been involved in several protests, including one at the Beavercreek Walmart, downtown Dayton, Kettering, Oakwood, Riverside and Fairborn. While the protests were meant to be peaceful, at times they would turn violent. Because of this, Oller reached out to the Dayton community to become more involved with the movement.

“I felt like I still wasn’t doing enough,” said Oller.

Oller spoke at events and shared personal stories of why she supported BLM.

“I shared what my reasonings are and who I’m doing this for because a lot of it is directly for the youth, but also for my family members, my people and my brothers,” said Oller. “It’s not just about George Floyd, it’s so much more than that. It’s about my life mattering, my brothers’ lives mattering”.

“I shared what my reasonings are and who I’m doing this for because a lot of it is directly for the youth, but also for my family members, my people and my brothers,” said Oller. “It’s not just about George Floyd, it’s so much more than that. It’s about my life mattering, my brothers’ lives mattering”.

WSU psychology major senior Trinity Rammel attended the BLM march in Celina.

According to Rammel, a few counter-protesters showed up at the event with signs reading “Protest the protesters, the NRA way,” and a few brought weapons.

“I understand wanting to stand up for something you believe in, but the manner in which they did was disrespectful,” said Rammel.

What the future holds

According to Oller, the world is changing because of BLM and wants to continue working towards change.

“I’m fighting the same fight that my grandmother fought in the 40s. For the future, I see America as the melting pot that it was supposed to be. I want little black boys to be able to walk down the street. I want children to not be in cages. I want my little cousin to not be scared. I don’t believe I’ll see it in my lifetime, but that is my hope,” said Oller.

As for passion dying quickly, Oller was quick to agree but urges people to continue speaking out against injustice.

“There were two weeks when I was out every day protesting. I don’t know what happened, but I agree that passion dies quickly. As we get closer to the 2020 Presidential Election and the increase in Covid, I think people are losing steam, but we need to still use our voices,” said Oller.

Rammel recognized a change in the Lake Campus hometown.

“Personally, I believe it was able to open a few eyes here in this small county. The protest was a way for individuals to share how they feel about the whole movement. Those who didn’t speak were there out of respect and support. These types of things don’t normally occur in Mercer County, so I think it was nice to get out of our comfort zone,” said Rammel.

Black lives still matter

Throughout the past year, the entire world has faced a pandemic and social uproar. Each and every person matters, no matter the skin color, no matter the nationality or ethnicity, no matter the background or history. To be human is to be enough for civil decency. Black lives matter and they always will


Roxanne Roessner

Wright Life and Laker Life Editor