Prompt 1 Last summer I went on a mission trip with the church and found myself in West Virginia. We stayed in McDowell County at an old school building, and this is the county we did most of our work in. McDowell County is the poorest county in West Virginia and one of the poorest in the county, with a rate of at least 35% of the population in poverty. The long lasting poverty is why we went there on our trip. We spent the first part of the week painting in a school to cover the stains on the walls but the second half of the week was spent talking and spreading our belief’s with the people of the community.
This is the first time I really was shown any discrimination for my race. About 90% of McDowell county is white households and about 9. 7% of the population that is African American. When we were in the community on one of the nights, we walked through a part of town that looked pretty uninhabited. There was a little house at the end of the road and inside was an elderly African American woman. We knocked and she came to the door, opened it, and then slammed it shut. The group I was leading was split, should we knock again or just leave?
There was a young girl in our group who said, “Mr. Fowler, can you knock again? ” I decided for a child to stand up and say we should give it another go, then we should do so. I knocked at the door again, and that was when she opened the door again and shared her mind. She said “I don’t need anyone who feels bad about their granddaddy’s and grandmommy’s owning slaves trying to help me out. Get your white asses out of here. ” This is when I realized that me being white meant more than the color of my skin.
I was always raised to love everyone. At my school we had 35 foreign exchange students the year I graduated and I knew all of them; their names, where they called home, and some of them I had strong friendships with. In high school, different races weren’t a thing, we were all just friends. Nobody had ever spoke to me the way the elder lady in West Virginia did and it made me realize that even though I think everyone should get along and be equal, there are people who don’t feel that way.
Prompt 2 My first instance where I wanted to know more about civil rights was on MLK day my 5th grade year of school. That was the first year we had the day off of school. I thought we had a snow day when I woke up and my mom said I didn’t have to go to school. I remember looking outside and seeing no snow at all! I asked my mom why we didn’t have school and she said it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. At that point of my life, I had no idea what “Martin Luther King Jr. Day” meant and why we had it off.
When I got dropped off at the babysitters, the first thing I did was ask who MLK was. Denise, my babysitter told me about The King and how he fought for everyone to have equal rights. She told me about how he stood up for what he believed in with so much passion and his words were straight from his heart. Denise told me about people who didn’t have the same beliefs as The King. She said that after hearing his constant pleas for equal rights, a man named James Earl Ray shot and killed him.
After learning about what Martin Luther King Jr. tood for, it helped me understand better when I learned about the civil rights movement and how MLK was a big part of it. The next time | remember civil rights was in 2007 when there was a police officer who was arrested for the murder of an African American that had happened nearly 40 years ago and I remember it catching my attention because the police officer’s last name was Fowler, like mine. After doing some Googling I found out that the murder of Jimmie Jackson by Officer Fowler started many civil rights protests.
The reason both of these situations are important to me is because now looking back, I realize how important MLK is to not just the Civil Rights Movement but also to everyone in America. The second instance I talked about is important to me because it allows me to make a connection, due to the last name I share with the officer. (Word count 371) Prompt 3 “Black lives matter” is something that is happing right now in our lives and I am not sure what I feel about it. It is commonly tweeted after an event that is considered racist, such as a white cop shooting a black person.
The first three tweets I see about “Black lives matter” are as follows: “Police officer allegedly urges drives to hit “Black lives matter” protestors. ” “Black lives matter protestors block San Francisco Bay Bridge” “All lives matter as a rebuttal to black lives matter is like running through a cancer fundraiser screaming THERE ARE OTHER DISEASES TOO” When I think about the hashtag I think of one very recent event. When Presidential Clown/Candidate Mr. Donald Trump declared that all Islamic people should be shut out of America, people had one of two feelings.
Either you were for it, or thought it was ridiculous. I got on twitter that night and the hashtag “Islam lives matter” was trending. My feed was full of people quoting the tweet saying things such as; “We don’t want you here, so leave, ‘Your life doesn’t matter,’ Don’t let them in. ” People were targeting a type of people and this really got on my nerves, so I dug a little deeper. There was one twitter page with an avi of an African American girl. She tweeted something along the lines of “Islam lives don’t matter” which I found appalling. I looked farther down on her feed and there I found the thing! as searching for.
This young lady had tweeted a few days before. Her tweet was “Black lives matter. ” I’m not trying to say that “Black lives matter” is an irrelevant tweet, because it has a lot of good meaning behind it. Of course black lives matter, but so do white lives, and Hispanic lives, and every life! How I feel about these tweets, and the hashtag itself, is that as a group of American’s, as a whole, we can never come together and be united to fight racism, if we are ignoring the fact that more than just African Americans are being affected.