A Call to Action

A+Call+to+Action

Stella Logsdon, Staff Writer/Editor

The issue of racial injustice is one of extreme prominence in the United States. News platforms report different stories describing a variety of events regarding race, violence, and intolerance. For far too long, we let these stories get lost in a pool of headlines, and shrugged them off as something that might not have affected us directly. We let the voices calling for change trend on Twitter, only to fade away after a short period of time. Finally, enough is enough and a plethora of public figures, businesses, establishments, and organizations are standing in solidarity with black Americans and other oppressed people of color. 

 

That being said, it is our responsibility to take action to make a change. Just because well-known people and businesses may seem to be doing what they can, personal involvement is equally as important. This doesn’t mean just donating money, because we all know financial contributions can be a challenge for students and young adults. However, there are many alternatives that are effective and easy to do.

 

In the Des Moines area, a Black Lives Matter chapter has been established, as well as many sub-branches, including the Supply Hive, and the Des Moines Mutual Aid Fund. Their work has been consistent and effective since the start of 2020. If you’re interested in learning more, you can find Des  Moines Black Lives Matter on Instagram or Twitter, @desmoinesblm. Events, drives, and fundraisers are hosted on a frequent basis, so if you’re looking for updated information, they are a great organization to support.

 

Participant in the 9 Lap Challenge. Photo courtesy of Kasey Tickel.

Another easy, affordable, and effective way to call for change is to simply call. Dial up your local and state-wide politicians, or even send them an email or letter. Ensure that our elected officials are working for everyone, and not prioritizing marginalized groups. A simple Google search can give you access to information on the City Council members, Congressional Representatives, Senators, or even the Governor of the State of Iowa. Let these politicians know what matters to you, and demand change in policy for the protection of the BIPOC community.

 

Here at Dowling, our administration has been taking action towards the racial and social justice issues facing our nation. Rather than be ignorant, it is important for our school to rise to the occasion. Considering that Dowling Catholic is a private school, we have complete control over our involvement in public issues. Mr. Jarred Herring, Student Support Specialist, talked to the Post about what our school is doing to stand up for social justice. 

 

“We just introduced a scholarship for students who want to be activists for racial and social justice. Students are encouraged to get involved in organizations, or just think of things on their own, things they want to do to just be in solidarity, or to find ways to fight and change things around here,” Herring said. 

 

“We’re looking for kids who take the initiative to get involved. Really, creativity would be something we’d really appreciate, and not just looking at what’s already being done, but looking at the culture, and looking at things that are going on and saying, ‘I can change this in this way,’ Herring said. 

 

Student involvement is important because we are the generation that will live to see this change, and starting to educate and involve ourselves in current events and social issues now is vital. 

 

Mr. Herring also talked to the Post about the 9 Lap Challenge, a new concept introduced by Dowling to engage students and staff by working together. As mentioned in the title, participants are encouraged to stand with the BIPOC community, and especially honor George Floyd, a Minnesotan man who was brutally murdered by officers of the Minnesota Police Department in Spring 2020. 

 

“With the 9 Lap Challenge, we raised money, with some of the money going to the George Floyd [Memorial Fund]. The other money that was raised was donated to be a part of supporting this award. Every year, money from that will go to one Junior male and one Junior female for the next year,” Mr. Herring said. 

 

The future plans for the 9 Lap Challenge are some that Mr. Herring has confidence in. 

 

“We want to continue to bring awareness to the knife by doing something. This month was a walk, but we’d like to start getting into some more hands-on things, have some more conversations, and keep looking at how we can not just actively do something in the moment, but start promoting some change,” Mr. Herring said.  

 

Case in point, start getting involved. Educating yourself on the issues of racial intolerance is no longer optional. We are being called to advocate for change, and excuses can’t be held any longer. There are many different areas that fall under the umbrella, so find one that interests you, and see what small, or large, steps you can take to be the change you wish to see in the world. Black Lives Matter is not just a hashtag, and the events that take place can no longer be dismissed. BIPOC are calling for our help, and it is our job as humans to do so.