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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    OPINION: Pride Month would not exist without activism

    Elijah Bia

    Hundreds of local Tucson protesters surrounding the stage where BLM speakers spoke their thoughts during the July 6 Celebration of Black Lives on the University of Arizona Mall.

    Girl, this is not Wendy’s. 

    As another company gets accused of supporting Trump (i.e. supporting racism, sexism, misogyny etc.), I think about the Black Lives Matter movement and why it’s so important. 

    I can’t count how many times I’ve experienced racism in my everyday life. It became the norm in college to hear microaggressions daily, and there was nothing I could actually do besides get angry at the institution for fostering this environment. At some point, the university allowed for its housing system to become so discriminatory that it was common to see one or no black resident assistants in a building. Likewise, it wasn’t uncommon for these same resident assistants to go unheard or even be punished for speaking out about the department’s short-comings. This current movement has given me and many other black people the one thing institutions like this one tried to take away: a voice.

    RELATED: OPINION: Tips on documenting protests

    When the recent Black Lives Matter movement efforts began, I, like so many other black people, assumed we’d only see the name George Floyd or things pertaining to his death for just a few days. As I write this, we are currently going on day 13 of protests all over the globe. People in Australia, Europe and Asia have heard our screams for justice and joined in! I can’t put into words how it feels to finally be heard. How it feels to have your cries finally be attended to. For the first time in my life I can truly say that anything is possible and mean it because I’m seeing it right before my eyes. The fact that this is happening during Pride Month puts the cherry on top of this scrumptious cake. 

    When I think about Pride, I can’t help but feel so proud of the people that came before me — those who didn’t take no for an answer and believed in a better future for the next generation. Knowing this and seeing the BLM movement, I hope my fellow LGBTQ+ people feel invigorated. I hope that at this moment they can see how powerful our voice is when we come together. The fact that this movement started over 10 days ago and thousands hundreds of thousands of people are still getting out there. 

    There would be no Pride Month without activism. There is no Pride Month without people fighting.

    RELATED: A Celebration of Black Lives on the UA Mall 

    I remember doing a get-to-know-you game at one of my previous on-campus jobs and we had to take a quiz to group us into teams. I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t remember any of the groups besides my own (sorry). My quiz results said I was a “rebel”. My boss saw this and said, “Of course you’d be a rebel. We knew that.” I had never thought of myself as a rebel until that moment. For all intents and purposes, this was an oversight of mine because I was obviously a rebel. I had always been fighting against something at my university; whether that be social justice amongst peers, blatant racism in the theatre department or just good ol’ faulty leadership in the housing position I worked in. Doing all this fighting and standing up for what I believe in taught me how important it was to raise your voice because you don’t know what it could lead to. 

    I’m so thankful to be alive to see this today, and I can’t help but think of all the activists that came before me. From Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, to Malcom X and Martin Luther King. These were the individuals who had enough vision to see ahead and were determined to make it a reality. This Pride Month is special, so get out there (masked & sanitized) and be on the right side of history. 

    And that’s on what? Period. 

    Follow Juwan Tyler on Twitter

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