2019-2020 & 2020-2021 Editors-in-Chief MURPHY FISHER, SARAH PORTER, TIERNEY REARDON, & EMILY SCHMIDT
6/8/20 Editor's Cup
This past week, a powerful statement by CNN host Don Lemon took Twitter by storm: Not one, but “two deadly viruses are killing Americans: coronavirus and racism.” In working to address all that has happened following the death of 46-year-old George Floyd in particular, we had to recognize the unique perspective we have as editors of a school newspaper. As a news source, it’s important for us at Rampant Lines to value and practice objectivity. In our increasingly polarized world, the issue of equality has been misconstrued, and discussions of universal human rights have been shoved between partisan lines. True equality, however, is not subjective, and above all, one thing needs to be made unequivocally clear: black lives matter.
This movement that we’ve all seen dominating local and national news outlets, social media platforms and downtown streets is so much more than a #BlackOutTuesday post and the Instagram story “Tag 10” solidarity challenge. The Black Lives Matter movement is about how we as people treat others on and off the screen—it’s a call for long-awaited and rightful change. Especially now that this issue has reached our very own student body, we can no longer stand idly by.
This past week, various racist posts were made by several students in Pitt County Schools. In response, PCS published a statement addressing their zero tolerance of the subject matter reading that the statements of those students “were grossly inappropriate, appalling, and only add to the current upheaval in our community and our nation.” Additionally, the Parents for Public Schools in Pitt County released and recognized that as members of a school system that prides itself on diversity, we need to “stand up for the black lives who are central to our community and our schools.” Actions such as these are utterly unacceptable, and we truly hurt for those who were targeted by these posts.
“No matter how we try to downplay the existence of [racism], it is truly taking effect [on] everyday lives, and I don’t think it really hit too many people until it hit our own city,” staff writer Raven Bledsoe said. “The same people you walked the halls with and shared notes with, sat beside at football games, [and] ate lunch with, participated in acts of racial slurs and inappropriate comments; it doesn’t get any realer than it being right in front of you.”
PCS is currently working on providing counseling resources for students who may have been affected by these posts. In our local community of Greenville, NC, change is also being wrought through the joint support of a local community pushing for unity as well as growing protests downtown.
“I know that I have the privilege of having a good relationship with the police, so I wanted to go out [to the protest] and also support the movement and be the best ally I could,” opinion co-editor Lexi Karaivanova said. “I’ve seen plenty of videos of just brutal beatings that discomfort me, and I can’t imagine what it’s like for the people of color...that have to actually live through that and be worried about that for themselves and their family every day.”
Across our nation and even the world, the recent brutal and shocking deaths of Ahmaud Arubury, Breanna Taylor and Floyd have shaken our nation to its core, showcasing the need for reform regarding black oppression in America. Many who either may have not felt comfortable protesting or did not get a chance to have also found ways to get involved, often through the use of social media.
“The thing with Black Lives Matter, and the thing that everybody in the new age is [saying is that] ‘all lives matter,’ which is true and I had posted it on social media,” staff writer Raynise Corion said. “[I said] it’s true that all lives do matter, but right now we’re focusing on black lives because all lives aren’t being killed.”
We at Rampant Lines do not tolerate racism or any type of injustice. We stand with people of color and have and will continue to strive to foster inclusivity in our classroom, school, and community. If you have not already made an effort to get involved in putting an end to racism and discrimination, we urge you to do so. Many resources such as blacklivesmatters.carrd.co are available not only to allow you to sign petitions, donate, and educate yourself, but also to provide mental health resources. Now more than ever it’s time for us to listen. It’s time for change.