An Address from the Black Diaspora Graduates of McNair HS


I am so proud of these 2020 McNair graduates. They were organized, thoughtful, honest, informed, and powerful. They moved and inspired me more than any orators I’ve heard in my lifetime, because they were incredibly intentional and offered facts and real solutions to strive for.

4,000 protesters turned out yesterday, June 6, 2020.

So many important messages voiced yesterday, that I feel I have to amplify them! Beautiful, intelligent, and strong A’dreana of the @black.diaspora has so much to teach us at just 18—a strength, no doubt, which will fuel all of her future successes at Howard University and beyond (I’m thinking Congress and/ or Presidency). Below are her sentiments:

-ALL BLACK LIVES MATTER—including Black LGBTQ+ lives! We must be intersectional in our solidarity or we do not truly believe that BLM.

-Do not beg for police solidarity—no knees, or fists, or chants—nothing. “If they cared, they’d quit.” Because officers quitting is a more humane response than participating in an institution designed to oppress Black and non-Black POC.

-Reform is NOT the answer.  I repeat, REFORM IS NOT THE ANSWER! We have reformed, and trained, and passed laws after laws after laws, but the system is not broken. It is working as it was designed, so reform will not work. Defunding the police and returning money to communities of color is the only way forward. We can police ourselves the same way affluent communities do—where a cop car is wholly out of sight! IT. IS. PRECEDENTED.

Defund. Abolish. Rebuild.

Don’t believe me? Read this study which finds that over policing INCREASES crime.

-DO NOT BLAME BLACK PEOPLE FOR NOT VOTING. Ex-convicts in NJ CAN vote, but we cannot say the same for every state. In recent decades, many states have moved towards reinstating this right, but how can Blacks make up for the time where this right was denied to them? Black people and other non-Black POC are aggressively targeted and policed from childhood. So when they end up in jail, they lose their right to vote. This is a systemic design.

-Money is what puts political candidates on platforms for their public to vote for, which is why we are stuck with two scary and uninspiring candidates. Poor people—people who understand the issues and will fight for their communities—never make it to office. So we CANNOT rely on voting; however, please use your voice and make it count.

I believe so much in these teens. I cried out about how proud they made me feel for, literally, the entire protest. They are our future, and they are so strong! They need us to put in the work so that their futures, and their children’s futures are less bleak and more equal. More peaceful. They deserve this. Our world does. Black communities have been trying to heal from their trauma for centuries, and they never get to rest.

Please hear their voices, screams, and cries! Please do not forget or look away or show your support in only performative ways. Please volunteer, and protest, and donate, and learn, and educate, and support, and help them heal. They are tired of waiting for their time.

The time is now.


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