as told to Andres Reyes
photos: Mark Chalico
Ed Note: Since the non-indictment of white police officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo in the respective killings of Black men Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter has become a rallying call online and in the streets against state-sanctioned violence on communities of color. Demonstrations and protests have sprung up and sustained in cities across the country and internationally.
In Merced, nearly 50 people attended a #BlackLivesMatter demonstration held in December of 2014. We’Ced caught up with two young people who participated in the protest to hear how #BlackLivesMatter resonates in the Merced community. Afterwards, head over to our Facebook page to see more images from the #BlackLivesMatter protest.
Daralynn McCall, 19, UCM
I was raised in Sacramento and now attend UC Merced. To me, #BlackLivesMatter means inequality for all. As a society we tend to put certain lives as more valuable than others. We do matter, we do care and we should have justice when the police kill us.
On campus, I’m a part of a student group, Afro Terrace, and we work with Ms. Loretta Spence, the President of the Merced County NAACP Branch. She works with a whole bunch of youth who are not being seen in school or seen in their community. Seeing that the city council aren’t doing anything for these specific youth in Merced, they’re showing they don’t care.
Knowing that there is a stigma of certain communities in Merced and knowing that there are pockets in the community that are poor or have a strained relationship to police, that says to me that the city doesn’t care as much about these parts of the community because they’re not putting resources into these parts of the community.
You see the brand new high school, El Capitan, all the way on the north side of Merced, and the Black and Brown students from South Merced don’t get access to that privilege. I know my professor’s son goes to El Capitan and I know she makes a considerable amount of money. The city council doesn’t see that disparity. They’re not caring about the Black and Brown young people. That’s how Black Lives Matter and Brown Lives Matter in Merced.
There is a stigma on campus that we shouldn’t go to the other side of the railroad tracks. It’s something we hear around campus, “don’t move other there,” or “don’t go over there.” When I finally went there, I realized it looks just like my community back home! There are very few of us that actually do go out to the community.
Cian Chaddock, 16, Merced
I’m really tired of the injustice done to families of color. I have friends and family who have been part of the police force. My grandfather was a police officer here in Merced. More importantly, I have Black friends who have been bullied by the police. It needs to stop. I feel like if I come out here and voice my opinion and make a change, which I’ve been wanting to do since Bush was in office, I can help bring about change.
The more people that can be aware of what’s going on, the more people can become engaged in changing our system. If I can get my friends to stand up and say no to abusive police and we can get other people to say no to abusive police then this will stop. That’s the first step, we need to get others to come together, we have to get others to talk and we have to get others to vote.
We are still having injustice done to all. It doesn’t matter what color you are, how tall you are, what your size is, there will be injustice done. That is a sad reality we are living. I think we should just say #LivesMatter. It doesn’t matter who you are, you are you and you are a human being. Just saying #BlackLivesMatter” isn’t enough. What if the cops stop abusing Black and Brown folks and start abusing other groups because we’re only protesting about some groups of people?