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Lift Every Voice & Sing

Lift Every Voice & Sing

GEN Z TAKES A STAND WITH A SONG FULL OF HOPE

My name is Diana Garland. I’m an 18-year-old, recent high school graduate attending UNC Charlotte in the Fall.

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO JOIN THE PROTESTS?

I was actually really nervous going in, because of all the news coverage and everything that I was seeing. I don’t want violence – I don’t think anybody does – but it definitely comes from the anger around systemic racism that’s been occurring for centuries. I am educating myself on the history of this country and what is still happening in our society, so that drove me to say, “Okay, maybe I should go”. I also feel like it’s one of my obligations as a Black woman to go out there and let my voice be heard.

HOW DO YOUR FRIENDS FEEL?

My friends and I have discussed this topic a lot and are sharing on social media about it. We tend to have different opinions but we don’t mind talking about them. I like to keep people around me that are open to sharing perspectives. I don’t really mind people with different opinions, as long as they’re open to listening.

My friends and I were mainly going in small groups, but I have a few underclassmen friends that went with their parents as well. The majority of my friends feel pretty much the same way as I do – they want to go to the protests and stand up for social justice.

WHAT WAS THE EXPERIENCE LIKE?

It was truly an incredible experience. It remained peaceful and the speakers were impactful. We walked up and down the street with our signs. There was a climate of solidarity but also outrage and frustration. And we all had our masks on, which was also a cool sight to see since this is the first time in history that wearing a mask is really becoming normalized.

WAS THIS YOUR FIRST PROTEST?

Yes but I’m not the first person in my family
to be involved with protesting. I’m the third generation of women protesters in my family. My mother was an activist in the 1990s for LGBTQ+ rights and continues to advocate for equality for disenfranchised groups, and my grandmother, who I am named after, was involved in the Civil Rights protests in the 1960s.

See Also
Black Issues Forum Black History Month

WHAT DO YOU HOPE FOR THE FUTURE?

I hope that it’s not temporary – like a Black Lives Matter spirit week. I’m hopeful that this will be a movement and we’ll push for systemic and institutional change for the next generation.

Photo provided by: Jack Wilson

Diana (left) stands in front of a 75-foot-tall monument to fallen Confederate soldiers located on the North Carolina State Capitol grounds in Raleigh, NC. On Sunday, June 21, Governor Roy Cooper ordered the dismantling of this monument.

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