‘BLM’ is an expression of the first amendment

Published by adviser, Author: Joshua Kellem - Rocket Contributor, Date: October 27, 2016

The killings of unarmed black men has unified the formation of activist movement: Black Lives Matter. In response, another movement, All Lives Matter, has been born. While Black Lives Matter fights for the equality of African Americans, All Lives Matter points out Black Lives Matter overlooking the importance of other kinds of people. The first amendment gives us the right to fight for whatever under free speech. Cases where our free speech is blocked are for obscenity which  is not protected by the first amendment unless it has prurient interest/offensive sexual conduct or lacks literary value. The movement’s have impacted society in a variety of ways.

People across the world have joined in on the movements, displaying their opinion through one or another. Slippery Rock’s campus is not any different. Students use their first amendment right to express their views. African-American student Kayla Calloway decided to express her views by chalking Black Lives Matter on campus.

“I heard others were writing BLM around campus, so I decided to make it a big thing,” Calloway said. “I bought a bunch of chalk and went out and wrote on the side walks with some friends. We also wrote some facts and names of those who were killed by the police. This campus lacks actual diversity, and I just want some attention to be brought to the issue.”

The issue Calloway is talking about is the killing of unarmed black men. According to a 2016 Washington Post article, blacks are 2.5 times as likely as whites to be killed by police.

While there isn’t a slew of black Americans being killed by police officers on Slippery Rocks campus, the diversity is lacking and has caused for awkward situations for minority students.

“I have been dealing with racism here at Slippery Rock since my first semester, which was fall 2013,” Calloway said. “I have heard a girl say black lives don’t matter. A girl in my Intercultural Communications class said a black man killed her uncle so she does not like any black people. That could be me saying because one white cop killed a black man that they are all the same, but for the most part, sadly, they are.”

While the Black Lives Matter movement is more prevalent in places other than Slippery Rock, the fight for equality among all races is a struggle for a lot of minority students nationwide.

“My goal, which I have not actually set, was not accomplished, because racial slurs are still occurring, and probably will always occur,” Calloway said. “But we have to fight to together to keep the word out, ‘BLM’.”

Unfortunately Callaway’s chalk was crossed out which leads her to believe the change she wants to see will never occur.

“I don’t believe racism can end in America,” Calloway said. “There are people who are raised a certain way, and once someone is in their adult life, those beliefs are set.”

Fellow caucasian classmate Rachel Burnett had some candid thoughts when presented the situation at hand.

“The movement is at least starting conversations,” Burnett said. “People are very close minded and are not willing to see the other side of things. Honestly it’s a little scary that people out there don’t believe that racism is still an issue.”

So, while the chalked Black Lives Matter compositions were crossed out, people still saw it. In fact, people saw it crossed out too. The goal of Black Lives Matter is to obtain equality for all, but starting with blacks. It started over outrage of unarmed blacks killed by police. However, now it is at the forefront of America. Anyone can perceive its intentions as anything, good or bad. Those who choose to follow the movement can now fight for whatever as well. In Slippery Rock, the black lives matter affiliates, as a minority on campus, are fighting for acceptance.

President Cheryl Norton was unaware of the situation at hand, but, when made aware, had a lot to say on the matter.

“Well, first of all, I think the people who are writing and chalking on the campus are representing their personal views. And, I think that’s important to realize that we do have freedom of speech,” Norton said. “As a induvial myself, black lives do matter as all lives do matter.”

Norton’s stance is one we all should take, and that is one that understands the inequalities of a race going on, but also making sure not to trigger an inequality of any others.

“Right now, we happen to have unfortunately a very difficult time in our society where often times black Americans are being unfortunately killed and the rationale does not make any sense when information comes out,” Norton said. “So, the Black Lives Matter is not a put down of other people its merely a statement identifying the problems that are faced with black males.”

Norton went on to question those opposed of the equality of all.

“Why? I would like to hear their opinion why,” Norton said. “And, I think its a mistake to think that if you suggest that black lives matter you are indicating that other lives don’t and I do not believe that’s what the black live matter stands for at all.”

Norton suggest us all to be aware of what truly is going on.

“But, I think unfortunately some people assume that you have to make a choice,” Norton said. “This is not a choice of who’s important this is merely a statement about conditions right now in our society.”


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