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Students speak on Black Lives Matter Movement

By Staff | Mar 3, 2017

The Black Lives Matter movement has sparked a great deal of controversy over the span of its coronation in 2013. The movement isn’t based on a strictly national basis.

When this movement began it also brought to light a local incident in Martinsburg. This incident involved Wayne Jones, an unarmed man tazed and shot, by the Martinsburg police in 2013.

Incidents such at the Jones one inspired the local protest Shepherdstown recently experienced at the wall. One protestor was wearing a Remember Wayne Jones shirt and others were protesting for that issue. Still others were protesting the overall issue of police brutality and the large percentage of not just black but all minorities’ incarceration rates.

Fran Brolle, the organizer of the protest in Shepherdstown said, “I’m not just upset about the black community but for all minorities, because they are all being disenfranchised, there have been multiple occasions of these races being deprived of basic human rights when it comes to dealing with police.”

The protest had a steady amount of traffic, and numerous students both attended and took part in the protest.

Some students disagree with movement, not the idea of the movement, but on the movement itself. They believe the protests are going in the wrong direction, and that the movement could focus resources on better solutions to the problem.

Shepherd student Kiara Goeins had this to say on the movement, “People have the right to protest, however the followers of the black lives matter movement would be better off focusing their energy less on shouting and more on things like contacting their local representatives and such.”

Shepherd alumni Levi Wingard said, “The movement is almost based on false pretenses, of course black lives matter because all lives matter, because of how this slogan is portrayed if you speak out against it, you automatically sound racist and that’s not fair.”

In correlation with the polarizing movement there are also students who fully support the movement and feel that these protesters are justified in their actions.

Student Molly Adams said, “African Americans have been mistreated, there is no doubt about that, and they should be proud of who they are and acknowledge that their lives do matter. The reason it is called Black Lives Matter is because this is purely about the mistreatment of black society.”

Student Edward Smith said, “Even though I think there’s been a few times where a small number of protestors have gone too far, I understand the anger that they are feeling. They were pushed. Also it is their right to protest at the end of the day.”

Shepherd Alumni David Donohue spoke on how the people listening to these protests are not getting the “big picture” involving the movement.

Donohue said, “I think people don’t understand it and are taking it as a personal insult, and in the end that is a huge part of the problem.

“There is a lack of social empathy and willingness to look at the problems facing black Americans today. The only way to truly understand the movement is to sympathize with the protestors. It all boils down to understanding human compassion.”