It Doesn't End Here: #BlackLivesMatter Calls For Cultural Change

As the United States enters more than a month of anti-racist protests, the Black Lives Matter movement pushes on from the Netherlands to New Zealand. A global movement urging the U.S. government to fundamentally reconsider policing and the police’s relationship with Black communities following the death of George Floyd.

It Doesn’t End Here: #BlackLivesMatter Calls for Cultural Change

Written by Jacob Ward

Flickr / Geoff Livingston

In early June, President Donald Trump threatened to deploy the United States military as a response to rising tensions between police and protesters. As of June 4th, the four officers involved in Floyd’s murder have been charged.

In Detroit, protesters are urging for the release of any and all non-violent protesters who have been detained, as the city now enters its eighth consecutive day of peaceful protests. 

“We’re in the middle of a pandemic, they are not safe in the jails, and there’s no reason for them to be there. We also want the release of all the detained undocumented immigrants because they have not committed crimes, and again there’s no reason for them to be there in the wake of a pandemic [and] we want the curfew ended indefinitely,” says Nakia-Renne Wallace, who has been one of the key voices and leaders during the Detroit protests. 

Protesters urge that the movement doesn’t end with the indictment of the officers involved in Floyd’s death. They demand a cultural shift, as well.

“It is really important that white people and anybody else understand that the future of Black and Brown people is also tied to the future of white people,” says Wallace, who graduated from Wayne State University in May. 

Speaking to America’s longstanding history of Black and Brown segregation, Wallace and the Black Lives Matter movement represent the need for permanent change and struggle to not return back to “normal.”

“This isn’t just for one person, this is for everybody,” said Mike Fate, a musician based in the Detroit area. “This is bigger than us and people need to understand that. People need to let go of yourself and let go of what you want to do, and understand that the whole world is protesting because the whole world feels the same way. How could you not? How are you that detached?”

Fate echoes the goal of the movement, which is to push beyond individual anti-racist changes to invoke systemic ones. Changes that begin at the community level, rather than the national level. 

“It needs to be a solid and continuous thing throughout all [of] Michigan. From the east side to the west side, from the suburbs all the way up to the Upper Peninsula,” said CeeJay, founder of Seduction Radio, a sex and relationship talk show based in Detroit. “There needs to be a solidarity of all of us changing our lifestyles so we can show that we are united and standing together and building that community. It doesn’t have to be in one city, but we just know that there’s a community and we all support each other.”

In order to continue supporting the BLM movement, you can donate to the Detroit Bail Fund, Michigan Lawyers Guild, and Michigan Liberation. You can donate money and supplies to volunteer medics, as well. 

Special thank you to Nakia-Renne Wallace and all for participating in this interview.

Jacob Ward is a junior in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance pursuing a BMA in Performance with a Minor in Performing Arts Management and Entrepreneurship. Recently, he was appointed Digital Fashion Editor of SHEI Magazine, the official arts, fashion and culture publication at the University of Michigan. Merging his interests in music, fashion, and current events has led him to work at the UMMA to amplify the student voice.

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