Say Their Names, Demand Justice, Change the World

Dallas Olberding, Columnist

Dallas Olberding poses with his artwork in response to the killing of George Floyd May 25 and the protests of continued racial injustice. (Dallas Olberding)

Editor’s Note: This column was originally published as a post by Dallas Olberding on Instagram about his pictured artwork

I made this today. Black Lives Matter. If you look closely, you can see names written towards the top and bottom of the piece… names of people who have lost their lives due to the monstrous acts of racism that sadly, still exist in our country today.

I wish we lived in a world where humans could see past color and treat each other with compassion, with love and kindness. But that is not our reality. The reality is: racism has existed in our world for centuries, for far too long, and it is still alive in our streets right this minute. And as a white person, I have a responsibility: to use my privilege and speak out.

I do not know what it feels like to be black in America today, to know that it could’ve been you who slowly died as a police officer sat on your neck despite the cries and pleas – “I can’t breathe. I’m going to die.” But I do know one thing: this has got to stop, right now, and I can help, you can help.

To all my white friends, this has got to stop. Use your privilege that very sadly exists to speak up and kill racism, exterminate it. Use your privilege to demand justice. And use your privilege to signify that Black Lives Matter. I am not black, but I am an ally, and I will take part in the fight to end racism till the day I die, I can promise you that. And to my black friends, to black humans all over the world, I am sorry for how corrupt and evil this world is.

Now you may be asking yourself, what can I do? First off, sign petitions, make phone calls, donate to charities and funds, and attend peaceful and socially distant protests to demand justice for George Floyd and the countless other lives that have been taken away by ignorant and prejudiced human beings. But also, educate yourself! Make it a priority every single day to truly better yourself and really examine the bias that exists inside of you that you didn’t even know was there. Listen and learn from black advocates all over the internet, there is honestly no room for excuses. And lastly, vote for people who you know will strive to better this country because there is so, so much more work to go.

This cannot happen again .. this CANNOT happen again. Say their names, demand justice, change the world.