Students commit to Black Lives Matter movement

Fists raised and moment of silence during BLM March in Ardmore on June 7th – Matthew Schwartz ’21

“No Justice, No Peace.”

     In response to the protests of the devastating murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tamir Rice, Jacob Blake, and the hundreds of other Black victims of police brutality, students in the Haverford community are not only sorrowful, but frustrated. 

     “We demand that there needs to be fundamental change within our system that kills innocent Black people,” Sixth Former Ryan Ngo said. 

     Students say voices of the Black community have long gone unheard, peaceful protests were criticized, and even kneeling was denounced. 

     “Declaring that Black Lives Matter, feeling outraged after hearing Floyd’s gasps for breath, and wanting justice and equality are not matters of political stance—these are issues of humanity,” Ngo said. 

     The news and right-wing media have conveyed a message of chaos and violence that does not align with the central message of the Black Lives Matter Movement. 

Students march toward City Hall during the Youth for Black Lives March, August 2, 2020 – Quinn Luong ’22

     “Controversy has made the movement into a taboo subject,” Sixth Former Nachikethan Srinivasan said. “Black Lives Matter is not driven by an ideology of superiority and a sudden awakening, rather it fights for the fundamental right of Black Americans in the U.S. that suffer from systemic prejudice under American jurisprudence.”  

      Protests reflect Americans’ frustration across the nation. 

     “For the students at Haverford who give a wanton disregard for diversity, stop being ignorant. Even if you haven’t experienced prejudice doesn’t mean you can’t empathize for those who are affected,” Fourth Former Roch Pararye said. 

     After students and alumni of color came out with their own stories of injustices and bigotry that they experienced at Haverford, the administration held a forum in August to allow the student body to congregate and speak about the Black Lives Matter movement, their emotions, and what they want to see change. 

     “I want all of the student body, regardless of your stance, to start to dive deeper into these uncomfortable conversations and start listening before you start talking,” Srinivasan said, “These are protests for you to listen to, not for you to argue.” 

     Many students expressed frustration, sympathy, and empathy through those conversations. 

     “It is imperative that this isn’t some issue that can be swept off. It is our duty to hold each other accountable,” one student said, “Education is crucial in highlighting the issues with using a derogatory slur. There is a serious weight being held within a slur as their meanings change in the context of who uses them.” 

     The administration and faculty likewise apologized for their complicity and lack of accountability. 

     Although Dr. Nagl shared goals for combating institutional racism within Haverford, the Diversity Alliance has been advocating for these goals ever since its creation over a decade ago. 

     Many community members feel that the school has not done enough, that racism runs rampant. 

     “As we are young and ambitious, history will serve as a reminder that we—you and I—are agents of change because we refuse to live through the same problems that older generations did,” Ngo said. 

“These are protests for you to listen to, not for you to argue.” 

Nachikethan Srinivasan ’21

     Members of our community advocated, educated, and mobilized others to become allies to the Black community by joining the Diversity Alliance and demanding change from our friends, our faculty, and our administration. 

     Especially during times of such polarizing and political division, students have also expressed the need to implement their demands and enact real change through the ballot box. 

     “Vote! Especially during times like now, it is definitely going to be extremely important for people to vote, Pararye said, “There are only a handful of seniors turning 18, but we must be represented for youth turnout so please register to vote!” 

     As students are spreading awareness through social media, attending marches, or speaking to family members about these sensitive topics, they have all stressed we must take away one thing from this: Black Lives Matter. 

Author: Quinn Luong '22

Quinn Luong has contributed to The Index since 2019. He currently serves as News Editor, and he has also written features and campus opinions. Quinn won the Pennsylvania School Press Association (PSPA) Philadelphia-area Student Journalism Competition for Newspaper News Story Writing and will compete for the state title in the Spring of 2020. His article "Teachers prepare for Virtue Villagers" earned a Silver Key from the Philadelphia-area Scholastic Writing competition. Outside of The Index, Quinn is a member of the Diversity Alliance, the Pan-Asian Alliance, debate and speech, and Model UN. His favorite classes are English, Spanish, and Chinese.