Black lives matter, women’s lives matter, LGBTQ lives matter and all lives matter. This is the outcome of what this world is like today. Protests have broken out in nearly all major cities as well as smaller towns and they have become more violent. Fires are ripping through businesses, people are being shot and killed and roads are being blocked by angry protestors. This violence has erupted tremendously between 2013 and became much more violent when Donald Trump won the presidential election. Katie Murray, 26, of West Springfield stated “there is a better way to get your point across. It is our right as American citizens to protest for what we believe in but it is not right to turn to violence.”
In 2013, the Black Lives Matter movement was created to campaign against violence, racism and police brutality against the African American community. Somehow the reason the movement was created was lost when protests turned into destruction of cities and deadly violence. The intention of this movement was to help create peace, not violence which was the hope of co-founders Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi.
For eleven years, 28-year-old Chicopee native, Mark Maslak has worked as a tow operator and has witnessed violence first hand as he travels to help others. “Towing is a great job but you see too much, stuff you wish you didn’t see. I have to maneuver my tow truck around the protests to get to those who need help and it gets so frustrating,” he says. The protests have blocked major streets and highways making it harder for emergency vehicles and tow trucks to get to those who need help. Maslak states “it can be an absolute nightmare somedays. I do think something needs to change at this point because I have a job to do which is helping people and what these people are doing is just hurting people.”
In recent days, it was announced that Donald Trump, a real estate tycoon with harsh views of reality would take office as President of the United States. With that announcement, the violent protests erupted and grew. Suddenly all groups such as Black Lives Matter, women and the LGBTQ community have joined the fight together and began protesting even worse than before.
“Both are protesting hate and prejudice. Both incite violence against each other and property,” says Murray. She claims the media has been playing a strong role in the American people view their country, their neighbors and their communities. Murray went on to say “The media controls the nation. You see only what they want you to see which has been violence, hatred, the unfairness and the injustice. They do not show peace, love and giving. We only see shootings, buildings and businesses being burnt to the ground, people crying and major roadways being blocked.” She adds, “We do not hear of the candlelit vigils or the good people show to our local police officers. We just are not shown the positive aspects of protests.”
“I am genuinely scared for my son. I do not want him thinking that this is acceptable. I want him to be a champion for equality and stand up for what is right,” Murray stated when discussing the effects the violence has on raising her own son who is only three years old.
Looking towards the future, Americans are truly hopeful for change. However, for now, the United States will remain divided until something or someone steps up to change it.