Brave North Students Dive in With Local BLM Initiatives


Elizabeth Wickland

Just Cause: This summer, North Atlanta students lent their voices and efforts toward supporting the fight for racial justice under the Black Lives Matter Movement. Here sophomore Lyric Hoover, freshman Kensington Eden, and sophomore Lena Hoover met up for a school-organized protest at Sara Gonzalez Park in Buckhead in June.

The systemic issue of police brutality reached its peak in the summer of 2020 and brought with it a new generation of activism. Thousands took to the streets to protest the murder of George Floyd, chanting, “I can’t breathe,” which were Floyd’s tragic last words. The years-old movement, known as Black Lives Matter, took social media by storm. The topic was trending everywhere on twitter, Instagram, and even Tik Tok. Not only did the movement have a huge presence on social media, but it was also an important discussion in the North Atlanta community. As outrage turned to activism, students organized their very own event. 

The rally, which was held on June 14 at Sara J. Gonzalez Park in Buckhead, consisted of an eight minute and 46 second silence for George Floyd, a student-created pledge, and several speeches given by mainly black students. One of the talented speakers was sophomore Lena Hoover, a dedicated student, who was very involved in the protest organization and the movement itself. “With everything that’s been going on today, I think it’s important to raise awareness and for North Atlanta specifically, especially since we have a pretty sizable black community at our school,” Hoover said.

Students of all grade levels attended, packing into the cramped park and listening silently to the speeches and songs. Protest signs waved high in the air, as students made their voices heard. Sophomore Paige Clayton, one of the many attendees at the protest, said she was struck by the positive spirit that animated the gathering. “There was a great turnout, and those who spoke or sang did a good job,” she said.

Another influential person who spoke at the rally was senior Avi Hunter. Hunter addressed the underlying problems in our society, namely systemic racism. She gave some ideas on how non-black people can improve their allyship. “Allies can help by listening,” she said. “Allowing themselves to be educated by the experience of their peers. It’s important to speak up when you see ignorance or hatred around you, and use your voice to lift up people of color rather than speak over them.” 

Moving forward, we must be aware of the systemic racism that many Black Americans in our community face today. Acknowledgment  is the first step to overcoming and fixing these issues. North Atlanta must be united to stand up and fight for what is right, not what is comfortable.