The Columbian: Because Of You

0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

With all schools in New Jersey in distance learning mode, the dedicated staff of Columbia High School’s award-winning student newspaper, The Columbianproudly present their second on-line edition at The following guest column “Because Of You” by Shanil Auguste was originally published by The Columbian on June 10, 2020. With permission from CHS administration and staff at the newspaper, Village Green will be posting more content from the current issue of The Columbian in the coming weeks.

Shanil Auguste

Every time my phone gets an email notification, I should not be worried. Every time I look down, I should not be afraid. Every time you drive by, I should not cower. Whenever I see my brother or my father, I shouldn’t have to worry if you will take him away. I’m tired. I’m so tired. I’m tired of being shot down like wild animals while we beg and plead on streets and countries to be heard. I’m tired of pulling, pulling out leather, and wondering if you’re gonna think it’s steel. I am so afraid that one day my brother will come back to me in a body bag. Because of you, our childhood innocence is slaughtered as our people are being mowed down like animals. While my cousins are being herded into your ironclad buildings. I’m tired of opening up my phone and seeing that you have robbed a mother’s right to her children, that you have robbed our right to be free to be alive. I am so afraid to have children in your world. I think of what my little ray of sunshine would look like. If she or he will have my kinks or a smoother texture whether she or he will share my blessed skin and love every inch of themselves or if she or he will cower in fear every time one of you sees them as an animal. I cannot birth a child into a world where a blessing is seen as a means to commit genocide. We condemn people who shoot birds and arrest those who cut down trees, but if one of you brutally murders one of us, we have to yell, scream, burn, publish, to even be slightly heard. I will never hate the skin that I’m in. I will never allow one of you to steal my right to be a human. I am tired of cowering, hiding, or scurrying away every time one of you is near. My skin is not a weapon. My color is not a threat. My voice cannot and will not be muffled. My bark is loud and mighty and needs to be heard by all means. You will feel my bite. This bite is strengthened by centuries of oppression, murder, prosecutions, rapes, enslavement.

Don’t shoot, we yell. I will comply, we say. Laws are important, we believe. I am reaching for my wallet, we plead. Grow up, we try. But it’s never enough. Will it ever be enough? We are being killed, murdered, we do not get the chance to die the way people should, we are executed without a jury. Our pain to you results in laughter. Our bodies are nothing but carcasses to you. You belittle and dehumanize us to justify your actions. Your ignorance is deadly. We need you to hear us. It is baffling how you would rather hurt hundreds of people just to protect a rotten six. You would rather justify the killings of thousands than to purify your line. Please explain this. My heart is shattering, hearing about these injustices. About these men, women, children, fathers, mothers killed because you do not want to make a stand. Fear is understandable. I am afraid every time I leave my house, but when has my fear EVER been deadly. I feel for you that you are so afraid that your fear leads you to kill an unarmed child. I feel for your degrading masculinity to jump a man who is complying with your wishes. I wish I can give you a soul that laughs at the disfigurement you caused to someone’s son. And I wish that I can remove your fear and lift you out of your haze so that you can feel with the rest of us. We are not demanding for more bodies for more carnage for more rioting or blood we are demanding justice for those countless men women and children that had lost their lives to this relentless battle that will never have a winner unless you can too feel the same exhaust, anger, sadness, disgust, heartbreak that we all feel.

Designer: D.Hugel
The Columbian staffCo-Editors-in-Chief: Martina Zacker ’20 and Nicholas Shires ’20. DesignEditors: Dana Hugel ’20 and Matt McBride ’21. Photo Editor: Arielle Loubier ’21. Art Editor: Avery Soupios ’20. News Editor: Jon Cutler ’20. Arts & Entertainment Editor: Emily Wilner ’20. In-Depth Co-Editors: Noori Zubieta ’20 and Ruari McEwan ’20. Opinions Co-Editors: Jordan Young ’20 and Ari Mehlman ’20. Sports Co-Editors: Sydney Rednik ’20 and Zoe Slavin ’20. Designers: Derek Gutierrez ’20, Jack Griffith ’22, Ethan Walden ’20, Isaac Weber ’21, Charlie Hummel ’21, Sydney Mannion ’22. Advisers for The Columbian are Joshua Enyeart (English Dept.) and Cindy Malhotra (Fine Arts).

Related Articles