Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Black Lives Matter group ’dangerous’; Parklanders ‘heroes’: Why is this?

    A question that needs to be answered

    by Nicole Lovett

    Gun violence is alarmingly common in Oakland.

    Since I was born and raised here, I became desensitized to the death that was constantly around me. Watching news unfold about new victims shot on the street was not a big deal.

    Memorials fat with flowers and candles of the Virgin Mary were commonplace. Even when someone was shot dead in my West Oakland neighborhood, I sped past the crime scene on my bike without a second thought and quickly forgot about it.

    Then, in 2014, Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo. As the Black community imploded, something in my mind shifted.

    At 15 years old, I was engrossed with the events that quickly unfolded after Brown’s tragic death: I followed Ferguson activists on Twitter; I watched live video as police threw tear gas into protesting crowds; I cried when Brown’s mother cried.

    I was perplexed by the criticism that #BlackLivesMatter got. The movement made me realize that gun violence in my community should not be normal, and that Black people deserve better. Why couldn’t everyone else see the same thing?

    I’ve had a similar sense of perplexity with the fame the Parkland students have attained, although for a different reason. They have gotten celebrity endorsements, been on the cover of Time and Teen Vogue, received full coverage from the press, and have not been tear gassed by the state.

    I felt a sting of rejection when I saw that some of the same celebrities who criticized #BlackLivesMatter were now calling the Parkland survivors heroes.

    The students who survived the mass shooting and who now proudly speak up are mostly white and affluent, and they are seemingly more digestible to the American public than the Black activists who came before them.

    I’m watching this as Oakland further unravels in its own blood and gets written off by outsiders as a dangerous place, rather than a city that needs compassion and healing.

    I’m realizing that I was not desensitized as a younger person to gun violence because I didn’t care. It was because the world’s inaction convinced me that my community did not matter.

    Nicole Lovett is a Tower staff writer.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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