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  • Institute for Nonviolence Chicago

The fight has not just begun, the fight simply continues...

Ashley Perkins serves as the Lead Trainer and Training coordinator of The Institute for Nonviolence Chicago. In response to the recent injustices publicized, she inspired the inception of Nonviolence Chicago’s social justice committee, in hopes to reconcile the fractured relationship between the citizens and public servants of Chicago’s most high-risk communities through education, restorative practices, peaceful assembly and petitioning the government.

As a woman of color, I will admit that I found myself acquiescing. I had unconsciously adjusted to a life where my skin would forever be stigmatized. That I would have to work twice as hard to get an invitation to be considered for a seat at the table. That no matter how much I invest in my quality of life through education, a strong work ethic, and in how I carry myself with dignity and grace, my efforts would be grouped to stereotypic images such as simple-minded, docile, savage or jezebel.

It’s safe to say that all oppressed people have a sleeping beast, birthed in them the first moment their limitations are apparent. In that defining conversation in which a white counterpart attempts to “talk over your head”, or when a white counterpart is “surprised by you”, your skill set, your knowledge-base, your assertion. My sleeping beast was awakened the day I watched a non-resistant black man’s simple request to live, be denied by a hate-filled carcass of a man.

"It was in that moment I understood in a deeper way, that I am George Floyd and that Derek Chauvin is the years upon years of widely accepted, normalized, systemic racism."

In our grief, many blacks wiped their tears and stood up, awakened from a long slumber. We recalled and reclaimed our power. We acknowledged that we have a responsibility that is bigger than us; we’ve had a torch in our hands all this time. Many of us have committed and for others recommitted to boldly look oppressors in their eyes, on behalf of our ancestors who were lynched for giving eye contact to whites, proclaiming we want more, we want better.

We’ll flood social media platforms, we’ll flood desks with letters, we’ll crowd the front of office spaces, we’ll fill the streets with chants and we’ll line up to speak at meetings in front of boards until we get more, until we get better. We don’t call for just policy change, but for heart change. All lives won’t matter until black lives matter.

The fight has not just begun, the fight simply continues.

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