By Sarah Are + Members of the Youth House
I woke up thirty minutes before my alarm. I guess that happens when you’re tired of waiting for something. You wake up. You get out of bed and lace up your shoes, and then you start walking.
This morning at 8 am a group of nearly 40 youth and college students gathered to walk eight miles for racial justice. We picked the number eight for the eight minutes that George Floyd was pinned to the ground. And as we walked, we talked. With every mile we passed, the youth team texted out a reflection question for the group to the discussion. A few examples include:
All in all, what we know is that the walk for justice is not easy. It will be long, hard, and sometimes- because we live in Texas- it will be hot. However, what continues to be crystal clear is the need to set aside time to reflect, apologize, think and dream, so that one day our youth might not have to walk in the streets for justice.
Through all of that, here’s what some of our youth took away from this morning’s walk:
Sophia Braskamp (8th grade)
The eight-mile walk that we did in memory of George Floyd and the questions we discussed together helped me gather all of my thoughts about the issues of racism in the United States. In school, my history teacher told our class that the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s did not completely solve racism. I had seen small examples of racism but nothing like what has been highlighted over the past couple of weeks. At the very end of the walk, my friends and I were very tired and although I will never know what it is like to be a black person in the United States I think that this could be used as a metaphor for how tired people must be of getting judged solely because of the color of their skin.
Paige Anderson (Senior)
I’ve always been a big civil rights person, I’ve participated in pride, advocated for sustainability, and marched against gun violence, but a lot of the work I’ve done hasn’t been within my community. I’ve always had to go out and seek different justice groups. Having the youth group at the church do something to raise awareness about racial injustice was a big thing for me, it was the combination of two things I care a lot about. I’m so glad we were able to take this first step in our journey toward racial justice together as a youth group.
Quinn Graves (8th grade)
I enjoyed not only the social part of the walk but also the deep and meaningful conversations that took place. We discussed different examples of racial issues in mainstream media and how things could be different. I thought that the questions at the mile markers were a good way to pass the time, as well as allow opinions to be expressed and debated. I think that our generation has seen these problems our whole lives, but differently than our parents and grandparents. We have seen people say that discrimination doesn’t exist anymore, while it clearly does. Racism has evolved and this walked helped show me how the youth can have a voice, and how we have evolved with it.
Lindsey Maxwell (Senior)
I am so grateful to be a part of the PHPC community that’s determined to call out the injustice that is unfortunately experienced by so many people in our hurting nation. Today, walking 8 miles to represent the final 8 minutes of George Floyd’s life as he was inhumanely killed is just a small portion of the long journey to justice we are all traveling. There were some difficult conversations about race and privilege shared today, but they were the most important discussions to lean into because change will never occur unless there is recognition on all fronts that it is needed. All of us have the opportunity to make a large impact on the world, and sometimes all it starts with is a single step.