By: Kiana Maria
2020 came with no warning. Between the ongoing pandemic and protests going on all around the world, Gen Z has made it clear to everyone that we are not going down without a fight. Gen Z has contributed to protests, zoom calls, and conversations. However, how can we do more?
First off, we can educate more of the youth by showing them that there are great books that educate on the issues black Americans face in this country. If a book isn’t your thing, consider watching movies that are done by African American directors and/or films that are about African Americans. Secondly, research certain ideas/topics you may not understand that are being talked about when it comes to racial injustice. When it comes to the ongoing pandemic, it is important that as Gen Z we show every generation that we take this seriously. Therefore, having a mask and continually practicing social distancing is something we need to be doing more of. Lastly, the number one thing that this year has taught us so far is to have compassion. In understanding how to have compassion for others, we as Gen Z can take steps towards the right path.
Angie Thomas is an author who wrote The Hate U Give, On The Come Up, andConcrete Rose, her newest book which is based on The Hate U Give that will be released next year. Each book exemplifies the struggle and hardship of living in a town, Garden Heights, that is overruled by violence. The Hate U Give even became a film two years ago. The novel describes the life of a young black female named Starr Carter. She loses her best friend Khalil Harris when he is shot by a police officer. Not only does he get shot, but Starr is the sole witness. She is faced with the uncertainty of being able to speak up. It truly is a great read on how we can learn to bring light and justice to people in this country who sadly face brutality like Khalil.
Another read that plays into the teachings of why police brutality needs to end is a book called Dear Martin. It was written by Nic Stone who has written 10 other novels. The book is about a young man named Justyce McCallister and how he witnesses the death of his friend Manny Rivers. Throughout the book, he seeks advice from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He writes letters in his journal asking him for advice and to seek what he would have done. One of her other novels is the sequel to Dear Martin titled Dear Justyce in which Quan, an old friend of Justyce’s, ends up in the juvenile justice system for the murder of a police officer. In this, Quan’s story unfolds and he starts to send letters to Justyce similar to how Justyce would “send” letters to Dr. Martin Luther King. Both Dear Martin and Dear Justyce will tear at your heartstrings while educating you on a thing or two.
Black culture is one of beauty and storytelling, yet there seems to be a delay in the film industry. Despite that, there are still a few films that portray the culture and people in a beautiful form. Some of these films can be Hidden Figures (2016), Queen of Katwe (2016), Black Panther (2018), and The Hate U Give (2018). These are just some of my personal favorites because of the way they are told with such empowerment and inspiration. Hidden Figures shows the story of three young African American women trying to pursue their careers at NASA in the 1960s. The movie is based on true events. Katherine Goble Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson push through the obstacles of being talented, women of color mathematicians and scientists in a field of predominantly white males. I first watched Hidden Figures at home, and there has never been a time where I felt so empowered to follow a career in STEM. It is a shame that these three bright, young, and influential women didn’t get their stories told until many years later; however, watching this movie truly does captivate you and depict their journey well.
During this pandemic, we have learned in the hardest way possible what it is to lose something we thought we’d always have or at least have for a longer amount of time. People all over the world have lost family members, colleagues, friends, and loved ones. The Class of 2020 didn’t get to have the usual celebrations like prom, class trips, or a graduation ceremony. To stop this monstrous disease, we need to be taking precautions, as well as teaching others that masks are necessary and staying home is the safest route.
There has been a huge debate on whether a mask helps or not. In reality, there should not be a debate on the safety and health of the people. According to Wire, “COVID-19 is highly contagious and doctors say it can travel through droplets when you cough, sneeze or just talk to someone who’s next to you. Now they want to show you what they mean. Video shows neon specks — that’s spit. There’s a big difference between when someone is wearing a mask and isn’t.” The article goes on to tell the reader that wearing a mask does save you from catching it in many ways, however, you should be careful that you aren’t fidgeting around the mask and continuing to touch it. You should wear a mask not only to protect yourself, but to protect others.
Finally, compassion is key when it comes to understanding. 2020 has both kept us apart and brought us together in ways that future generations will learn from. Educating ourselves on how we can do better and learn is the first step in how we can better our environment. Being a part of Gen Z, it is important to be a part of the conversation. It is our time to shine, educate, and do better!
Wire, Nexstar Media. “Video Demonstrates Potential Dangers of Not Wearing a Mask.” 8News, 8News, 23 Apr. 2020, www.wric.com/health/coronavirus/video-demonstrates-potential-dangers-of-not-wearing-a-mask/.