Banneker students take to the streets to protest

As demonstrations continue, Banneker students contribute to the movement


Photo Credit: Iesha Thomas

Kaleb Anderson, Editor

After the killing of George Floyd at the hands of the police in Minneapolis in May, civil unrest broke out throughout America, including the nation’s capital.  Various groups from all walks of life came out of quarantine throughout the summer to protest police brutality, and Banneker students have been among them.

With no school and no activities to do this summer, young people have been one of the most active groups protesting.    

Banneker Junior Iesha Thomas went to a demonstration in June and said the protests in D.C. were the opposite of all the violence and rioting shown on the news.

“There were a lot of people. Everyone was wearing masks, and everyone was very nice, peaceful, and helpful,” Thomas said. “It was extremely peaceful.”

Photo Credit: Iesha Thomas

Other students like senior Temidayo Famakinwa are taking action in other forms, using social media to help spread information to others. Famakinwa felt compelled to push the message after the killing by police of a Black man in Minneapolis. 

“For me it started with the murder of George Floyd,” Famakinwa said. “I felt that it was the tipping point and I’ve been active before with [the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program] and helping organize, but the murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor was the final straw that got me involved and pushing the message of BLM.”  

Famakinwa, who spent his early years in South Africa, says racism is more subtle in South Africa than here in America.

“It’s not really in your face and although we’re all living together [Black and White South Africans] there are some who don’t want white South Africans to be in South Africa since they’re the minority and they have a bulk of the wealth,” he said.

Like most who are protesting, Thomas and Famakinwa want the result to be change and understanding.  “I hope this country can learn to grow instead of just moving on and sweeping all of the oppression and racism injustice under a rug,” said Thomas. 

“I think recognition and change,” said Famakinwa about his hope for the outcome of the protests.

“For a long time, non-Black people — especially white people — have been oblivious to the struggle of Black people in the U.S. and how the makeup of this country promotes racism and inequality in many forms,” he said. “So, I hope that these protests enable people to recognize this issue and to make legal changes and promote equity in the justice system as well as everyday life.”  

Recently the verdict of the Breonna Taylor trial found two of the three officers involved not guilty and one officer was charged with wanton endangerment, meaning he was charged for endangering Taylor’s neighbors.  Protests inspired by the death of Taylor and others have given new life across the country to a movement that doesn’t seem to be stopping.