Hononegah senior, Phairra Jones, demonstrating at the "Artists for Change" event.
large toll mentality as a kid; however, growing up it was very easy to separate the right and wrong about myself. Q: Do you think the BLM movement is misinterpreted? A: Not at all… If people misinterpret it, then they are looking past the murders and immediately judging the reaction of the people. They choose to group the protesters with the rioters and loot- ers as if the names aren't signifying the di ff erence in the intent of the criminals from the ones grieving and asking for change. Q: What's your perspective on the movement? How has it a ff ected/in- fluenced you personally? A: I'm absolutely in awe with how strong my generation's numbers are in fighting for my people and others. I'm encouraged to keep fighting for what's right until justice is served to all the marginalized communities, including LGBTQ and POC, specifically the His- panic and Latino immigrants mistreat- ed at the border and the indigenous women and children going missing at the hands of our government. This movement has shown me the power of my voice, and I will not stop fighting for what's right as long as I have the voice to make a change. Savannah Moore, a sophomore, was our last interviewee. She describes how the movement enlightened her understanding on the ongoing racial injustice of the American system but is uncertain of the future progress of the movement.
Q: What is Artists for Change? A: Artist for Change is a pretty large group of singers, dancers, painters, and poets in the Rockton Rockford area who wanted to protest in the most peaceful way possible, and that's by showcasing our arts. Q: What was the overall feel of the rally? What were some of your high- lights? A: The rally was amazing. It was super powerful and peaceful. One big high- light to me was one of my good friends Terry's performance, which was a dance to "Alright" by Kendrick Lamar and one of my track sisters, Logan, song "A Change is Gonna Come". Q: How has being a person of color a ff ected you personally in America? A: Growing up in a majority white area, I have been given a lot more opportu- nities than the majority of other black people in America. But the di ff erences in treatment from my white superiors are absolutely noticeable. I have been bullied for my skin color and hair. I've been looked past for amazing opportu- nities simply because I was "too dark for the part". Even in educational set- tings, I've been given the lower hand when I needed extra help in middle school and elementary. Being excluded from basic representation and always discriminated and displayed as the evil one or the enemy definitely took a Q: What drove you to organize this demonstration? A: Definitely a t er I went to my third protest and saw the age of the man running it. I knew right then that it was possible for me to do the same.
Terry Williams, hip-hop dancer, brandishes the BLM fist at the "Artists for Change" event at River Chapel. Photography at the event provided by Kaitlyn Niedfeldt, 12.
Below we've asked some of our minori- ty students attending Hononegah High School their perspective on the BLM movement. We first interviewed Elisabeth Wells, a freshman student who participated in one of the BLM protests held in Beloit. In her interview, she explains her mo- tives for protesting and the events she witnessed while doing so. O ff ering her own stance, Elisabeth describes what the movement meant to her. A: I'm half-black and I've always been disgusted by the amount of racial in- justice in this country, so naturally, I wanted to attend a BLM protest. I've wanted to go to one for years, but I haven't had an opportunity to do so until recently. A: The protest was in Beloit and started with people speaking and sharing speeches about what the BLM move- ment meant to them personally. Every- body then marched four laps around Horace White Park, representing the four o ff icers involved in George Floyd's death. A t erward, we continued the Q: What made you want to attend a protest? Q: What did you see at the protest? What did it consist of?
protest at the police station until even- tually the Police Chief and Captain came out and took a knee as a symbol of solidarity with the movement. Q: What was the overall feel of the protest? How did you feel? A: I felt so many di ff erent things at the protest, but most of all, I definitely felt empowered. And I think everyone else there felt that way too. I felt so unified and strong with the other protestors knowing that we are all fighting for the same thing. Q: Did the protest/movement a ff ect you personally? How? A: I think the protest has a ff ected me by giving me courage to stand up for myself, my rights, and what I believe in. The BLM movement was probably one of the best things that's ever happened to me. Additionally, Phairra Jones, a student in the Senior Class, provides her per- spective on the movement as an orga- nizer for an Artist for Change Demon- stration held at River Chapel in Rock- ton. She advocates for the peaceful representation of the BLM movement. Empowered by her generation's in- volvement, she strives to use her voice for change.
Q: What's your perspective on the
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