By MARK ROSARIO ’20
On Monday, June 8, Edison High students marched back to school for the first time in months. They didn’t come back for academics or sports—instead, they marched in solidarity with the thousands of Americans who have been protesting against police brutality since the death of George Floyd two weeks earlier.
Floyd died in Minneapolis, Minnesota after police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes, asphyxiating him. While restrained, Floyd repeatedly said that he could not breathe. He was dead for three minutes before Chauvin moved his knee off of Floyd’s neck.
The Edison High protest was one of the many student-organized local protests held this week in central New Jersey. These peaceful protests aimed to spread awareness about excessive use of force by police officers in the United States—an issue that Black Americans face disproportionately.
In a speech on Edison High’s front lawn, Malachi White ‘20 noted that despite the end of segregation, racism still exists in more subtle forms: “Today, we face a different type of racism. The racism we face today likes to hide behind things like a police badge. It’s sad, but we have to recognize that racism is still here, and it’s hiding.”
White also urged communities to come together to fight racism, rather than split apart in tension: “We need to come together… as a group, as a unit. We all know that a house divided can not and will not stand.”
Aimee Jean ‘20, who organized the protest, said, “at first, I felt very on-edge about how this protest was going to go, because not many people in Edison really speak up and spread awareness on racism. It was my first time organizing something like this. I felt the support of Mr. Ross and Edison Township, but I did want more students to come out.”
No matter how many people attended, Jean did feel her message was heard: “Change is coming, and I’m glad.”
While some people might not be able to attend protests, they can still show their support. Jean said, “there are other ways to spread awareness: donate, sign petitions, and don’t be afraid to speak up. And for those who have the privilege that I don’t—use it to educate others on why it’s important to never stop fighting injustice.”