Christian J. Holt: ‘I didn’t know’ is no longer an acceptable excuse to turn a blind eye to injustice

Christian+J.+Holt+is+the+President+of+Associated+Students+at+SDSU.+

Emily Burgess

Christian J. Holt is the President of Associated Students at SDSU.

by Christian J. Holt

As an Associated Students president who advocates for students’ interests and concerns, provides support for students and student organizations and fosters a safe and comfortable environment for all students, it is important to note that Black Lives Matter.

One must recognize that Black Lives are faced with injustices and are at risks that many other lives do not currently face. This does not mean that we disregard the lives of others. Rather, that it is time we stick up for what is right and push for equity throughout the world. As your president, I cannot be the catalyst for a safe, comforting and fun collegiate experience if I am not affirming the experiences and disposition within the world of our Black and underrepresented students.

In the past few weeks, we have seen protests occur throughout our country and the world calling for justice and the civil and human rights of Black people. We witnessed George Floyd’s life choked out of him by a police officer, while other officers watched and listened to him say the words, “I can’t breathe.” Floyd was just one of many Black people suffocated by racial oppression and police brutality. Eric Garner, Freddy Gray, Manuel Ellis, and many others said those same last words, “I can’t breathe.” 

However, these men could not breathe before being murdered as their breath had been constrained every day of their lives. Black people live a life of constraint not only with excessive policing, but in the classroom, at the park with friends, at the grocery store, and in many other social and professional settings.

With all of the silence and fear that has allowed racism to plague our nation, we all are a part of the problem. But how can we be a part of the solution?

There are many steps to take to do this, but the first step might be the most important. First, recognize that there is a problem in our world with race and race relations and that people are treated very differently for the color of their skin on top of the many intersectional identities that one may have.

The next step is to educate yourself. It is no one else’s responsibility for you to be an informed citizen and to learn about the world in which we live. There are many books, films, and documentaries that provide the context of underrepresented people’s oppression. “I didn’t know” is no longer an acceptable excuse to turn a blind eye to the injustices in our world.

Lastly, act.

There are many ways to act against oppression. It does not have to be solely physical or verbal, nor does it have to be in the moment. If you see an injustice occurring, evaluate the circumstances, and act accordingly. Not everyone was born to be the organizer of protests, but we all were born to live a life where everyone feels safe, respected, and loved. Find out where you are in this conversation and how you can help move our world into a better place.

 

Christian J. Holt is president of Associated Students at San Diego State. 

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