By Paige Ashton, St. Leo the Great class of 2016 and recent graduate from Archbishop Mitty class of 2020. She has shared her thoughts and feelings regarding the recent protests about George Floyd and designed the featured picture.
“I am tired. I am tired of no longer being surprised when I hear that a young black man or woman was wrongly arrested, wrongly convicted, or wrongly murdered, at the hands of our own justice system.
I am tired of not being able to keep track of the number of names within the black community that is added to the ever-growing list of police brutality victims.
I am tired of watching the judicial structure that we as African Americans built upon our bare backs crumble before us as it fails to execute its rightful duty as a protector.
I am tired of not being able to fall asleep at night until my black father or my black brother come home safely from the hostile world beyond us.
I am tired of seeing Black Lives Matter movements coming and going in waves, resurgent with each new death or injustice within the black community, rather than its constant perseverance throughout each and every day of our lives.
I am tired of doubting our own protection forces’ abilities to protect the communities that they have been sanctioned to watch over.
I am tired of having to be given the ‘talk’ by my parents at a disgustingly young age about how to safely interact with the world around us in a manner that preserves our lives.
I am tired of planning how I too will one day give the same talk to my own children. I am tired of living in a world where my own humanity is questioned because of the color of my skin or the texture of my hair or the cadence of my words or the power in my voice.
I am tired of fighting a fight that shouldn’t have to even be fought because racial equality shouldn’t even be disputed.
I am tired of hearing that the civil rights movement and Jim Crow era and slavery are simply of the past, when in fact they are ever present today, tomorrow, and seemingly everlasting beyond that.
I am tired of seeing those who support me in every other way fail to show up for the part of myself that makes me who I am — my blackness.
I am tired of pushing and waiting and wanting for a change that was supposed to come ages ago. And most of all, I am tired of feeling helpless. However, while it may seem that my capabilities may be limited by my age and size and lack of world experience, it is in fact quite the opposite. This feeling of helplessness is not a sign of inadequacy and failure, but rather it is the overwhelming burden of the weight of change that needs to be enacted within this world. So instead of floundering under this unbearable load and resting inactively, I push myself, and I challenge all of you, to instead fuel your exhaustion and passion into putting forth the effort for change.
Rather than let my emotions overtake my ability to make a change, I channeled my anger and rage into a piece of artwork. One that encompasses words of inspiration in our fight toward racial equality, just some of the too many names of those we have lost of police brutality, and the powerful symbol of the Black Lives Matter movement in a single image.
As a community, we are not asking for big, we are not asking for show-stopping, we are not asking you to top the person before you. All we want, and all we need, is a sign of solidarity, to show that we are not in this battle alone. Post that post, sign that petition, make that phone call, send that email, attend that protest, do all you are able to in order to make a change. If you are able and willing, all of which you must be if you are reading this right now, you will share this image and message with the world and show that you stand with us and for us — the black community.”