Liberate Us All

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Liberate Us All

Student Demetrius Diakhate sharing his thoughts on the issue of race during a group discussion.

Student Demetrius Diakhate sharing his thoughts on the issue of race during a group discussion.

Miguel vaLARINO

Student Demetrius Diakhate sharing his thoughts on the issue of race during a group discussion.

Miguel vaLARINO

Miguel vaLARINO

Student Demetrius Diakhate sharing his thoughts on the issue of race during a group discussion.

Demetrius Diakhate, Contributor

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Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall
seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

This statement comes from the Declaration of Independence and weights further in its implications in the 21st than it did in the 18th century. What this quote means when read in full context is that if “we the people” come to the impartial conclusion that those who govern us are no longer doing so with the doctrine of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness then we have a right to change that government. At Anne Arundel Community College a “Year of Social Justice” has begun which is said to “inspire our students, faculty, staff and the local community to stand up against injustices around the world and become a source for positive change.”

If there is ever a time to change our government based upon positive change that time is absolutely now. The year of social justice at AACC is a step in the right direction. This initiative to heighten awareness of social justice and incite change is an opportunity to
bring together a union greatly divided that is far from its principles.

One social justice issue has been the killing of African-American men. A 2012 study by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement called “Operation Ghetto Storm,” based on annual reports from local police agencies to the FBI, found that blacks are killed by police or
vigilantes at least once every 36 hours.

In an Aug. 15 story in USA Today, reporters Kevin Johnson, Meghan Hoyer and Brad Heath wrote, “Nearly two times a week in the United States, a white police officer killed a black person during a seven-year period ending in 2012, according to the most recent
accounts of justifiable homicide reported to the FBI.”
Even more alarming is how little data the FBI received from local police. “The database …has been long considered flawed and largely incomplete,” according to USA Today.
“The killings are self-reported by law enforcement and not all police departments participate so the database undercounts the actual number of deaths…. About 750 agencies contribute to the database, a fraction of the 17,000 law enforcement agencies
in the United States.” Considering the data and lack thereof, the killing of Mike Brown, VonDerrick Myers (also in St. Louis a few months later after Mike Brown’s death), Renisha McBride, Trayvon Martin, or Oscar Grant is actually commonplace in the United States.

According to Operation Ghetto Storm, 47 percent of those “justified” shootings were because the officer “felt threatened” by an African-American who was “unarmed.”

The problems of the world are perplexing but never too complex to solve. Initiatives have already begun at AACC, beginning with our official kickoff earlier in October, “Social Justice in Today’s World: What You Can Do to Make a Difference,” a lecture and discussion by David J. Smith, who has taught and written on conflict resolution and peace-building. There also has been a “Just Talk” session hosted by the Student Achievement and Success Program to discuss Mike Brown, the Missouri teen who was
shot by a police officer.

This “Just Talk” session let students voice their concerns and opinions regarding the shooting of Mike Brown and their own encounters with law enforcement.

The Year of Social Justice should educate students at AACC regarding social justice issues. However, the Year of Social Justice needs to be a catalyst to spark a change not only at AACC but in the minds of all those who cross its path toward a higher framework for American life.

With the Year of Social Justice at AACC, one must ask: “What can I do to make a difference?” In terms of your own safety, learn the laws of the city and state in which you reside and read the U.S. Constitution, Declaration, and Bill of Rights in their entirety. What you can do further is to support the Year of Social Justice at AACC, look out for events and speakers who will come to our school so you may join in and help.

The Year of Social Justice should be the first year in many to come in not only spreading awareness of social justice but in uplifting our existence and finding a purpose in this life as it applies to liberation.

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