My First Protest

A few weeks ago Chelsea Hannah graduated from Hampton University. Like the rest of the 2020 class she was unable to walk down the aisle and like many others, she now finds herself marching for the plight of her nation.  Chelsea participated in her first protest on Sunday, May 30, 2020 and posted some powerful photos on social media prompting us to ask her to share her experience with The People. To the younger generation, stay strong, diligent and organized and know that you are the continuation of a long standing fight for freedom and equality. The ancestors are with you. 

Words and Images by Chelsea Hannah

May 30, 2020
Today I participated in my first protest. I never understood how important protesting was until today. There’s no better feeling than being out in the streets, fighting for what you believe in. It’s the most powerful and empowering feeling ever. To be surrounded by hundreds of voices chanting to end racism, a disease that has been oppressing black communities in this country for hundreds of years. I knew that a simple social media post wasn’t gonna cut it for me this time, I needed to take action. And I did.

At first, I had feelings of nervousness, but as the day went on, the feeling of excitement grew. As I was riding to meet my friends, I rolled my windows down, opened my sunroof, let my hair be free, and played straight Tupac the whole way there. I listened as he spoke such powerful words in hopes of positively changing in our community. I thought about his tattoo 'THUG LIFE' and how our current president recently used the word “thug” to describe us as protesters. The phrase typically has a negative connotation associated with it but I recollected in admiration of how Tupac flipped the meaning of the two words. He describes 'THUG LIFE' as an acronym that stands for “the hate u give little infants fucks everybody”. We weren’t born with hate in our hearts and we weren’t born to hate people based on the color of their skin. This made me think -- What would the love you give little infants do?

As I rode down the highway I felt this overwhelming feeling of pride to be black. I thought of what we as black people have gone through and the racism that we, and even myself, have faced in our lives. I knew that I was making the right decision, and the support of my family made me feel even safer in my choice. I knew I couldn’t sit at home and reap the benefits of freedom that someone else was fighting for me to have. I couldn’t help but think of the everlasting efforts of previous black activists and how so many things would be different if they didn’t get outside and fight. My decision to go out to fight will one day be a decision-maker for my niece and nephew, my younger cousins, and my future children to fight for what they believe in and spread positivity and give love. This decision I made hasn’t only impacted my life, but future generations to come. So I’ll end this by reiterating how important it is to participate and to be a voice, not only for your community but most importantly for yourself and those you love.

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