READ ME

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

by Day Whitlow

Audio read by Alexis Schultz

I live in Suamico, Wisconsin, which is on the outskirts of Green Bay in the countryside, by farms and cookie-cutter houses, and have lived there since middle school. I want you to know that although the present may seem gloomy, not all hope is lost. As a person of color, the systematic racism and inequality with our justice system is all out of sorts. Being an “essential” worker for a grocery is a thankless and tiring job to make sure everyone gets what they need during this global pandemic. The coronavirus (COVID-19) is considered a deathly airborne virus and CDC states everyone should wear masks to help reduce spread. The government and media have everyone divided between “maskers” versus “anti-maskers.” Not wearing a mask became a political statement for individual rights, as opposed as to opposed to wearing one to protect yourself and others. Our president has been lax with the response to combating this virus.

My mental health was in the gutters for a long time in the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement.

After the tragic deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd from police brutality, the Black Lives Matter movement came alive again. To clarify, this movement started back in 2013 after Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a neighborhood watchperson. My mental health was in the gutters for a long time in the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement. During this movement, I saw a lot of “friends” and people I know show their true colors in regard to supporting or going against it. On one side of the coin, I have seen comments on social media and in personal conversation supporting the movement and understanding the harsh reality. On the other side of it, I have heard and seen a lot of problematic mentality that people have. Meanwhile, I see the movement as a long time coming and very overdue.

we (the people, environmentalists etc.) have been working on more sustainable and energy efficient alternatives

I noticed we started to repeat history when the government starting to use us against each other by promoting hate speech towards minorities and not taking public safety and health seriously. In the beginning of the lockdown after the pandemic started, it looked like some hope for some recovery for our climate with less than traffic due to all the businesses being closed down. Our government doesn’t believe in climate change, even with extensive research from scientists who dedicated their lives to this subject. Climate change is considered as a controversial topic with the public despite the visual and noticeable changes in the weather. With the noticeable changes including more natural disasters, warmer summers and shorter winters, our worst fears of the climate getting worse has come true. In current times, our government doesn’t take it seriously, we (the people, environmentalists etc.) have been working on more sustainable and energy efficient alternatives and made some success with little to none with government funding.

I have several ideas for building a better future, including education with awareness of the environment and health; keeping politics out of public health; and having more funding for climate change. With this being said, after seeing our worst fears come to life, I decided to find ways to have sustainable habits by carpooling and switching to energy efficient appliances and doing more research to do more for the environment. I decided to start participating in our elections in office by voting and doing research on the candidates that want to help climate change and better funding for education.

Things that bring me joy to get me through this uncertain time include protesting with people I care about against police brutality to get me a sense of hope and control.

Things that bring me joy to get me through this uncertain time include protesting with people I care about against police brutality to get me a sense of hope and control and having deep conversations with close friends.

Growing up as a little girl, I have always been taught from my mom to “in order to change the world, I have to be a part of the change to make a world a better place,” and that quote resonates me with me more than ever. The act of peaceful protesting is an active effort of wanting to make change for everyone to be treated equally. During these protests, this issue hits home for me, because it makes you question your safety and self-worth. Being black woman in America, knowing my own people are being targeted and misjudged based on racial bias and lives are being lost, and having people saying “so what, people do black on black crime” in response is heart-wrenching to say the least. For example, Breonna Taylor’s story resonated and scared me the most because she was good person in the medical field who helped during the pandemic and she looks like me. Her death demonstrated to me that I am not safe even if I am being a “law abiding” citizen who helps the community. I intend on winning the future by having those “uncomfortable” conversations and educating those people who want to learn. Using this method would have a domino effect if you can plant that seed of that thought of making better choices, there’s a hope for choice. I will leave you with this quote from Tom Peters–“leaders don’t create followers; they create more leaders.”

Stay Unified,

Day


Audio version of biography

photo of Day Whitlow

Day Whitlow

I am a junior at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay studying Human Biology and Psychology with a emphasis on mental health. I am an advocate for Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+, human rights, and preserving wildlife. In my free time, I like to hang out with my friends and family, listen to good music, and be in nature.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.