Editor's Note: The Michigan Daily has used several anonymous sources to report this story, as indicated by changed names with attached asterisks. This was done with the intent of honoring our sources’ requests to be quoted anonymously due to privacy concerns from their family and peers.
A few days ago, I had plans to meet a friend for a (socially distant) dinner at their house. We made this plan at around 6:27 p.m. PST, and I was going to arrive at their house at 7:30 p.m. At 8:02 p.m., a text message from my friend appeared across my phone screen:
With this piece, I am aiming to show the connections between what I have learned in my public health classes and through the Black Lives Matter (BLM) Movement. This piece does not serve as a lived-through representation of the experiences of many members of the BIPOC communities, nor of those who have directly experienced environmental racism throughout their lives.
Two gigantic blue doors open to a dark room with punching bags hanging from the ceiling. A purple glow beams off the walls and tints the room with a seductive vibrancy. As I cross the chamber, my arms brush against the heavy bags, causing them to sway as I proceed to the next entryway. When I walk into the following hall I am greeted by a shaking platform, which I cross sturdily and with ease (I am a water skier, and balance is one of my strengths).
Our sense of normalcy has all but eroded over the past few months. Classes have moved online, restaurants have closed and we can’t see our friends. The world we left when we locked down in March is a far cry from our world today. Some of us, however, are still looking for ways to reach back into the past. We are trying to hold on to parts of our pre-pandemic lives that were important to us. This effort is fueled by a desire for at least some parts of our reality to resemble what feels long forgotten. For me, this piece of my past is soccer.
On June 10, I opened Twitter to see it aflame with tweets regarding President Donald Trump’s controversial election campaign rally being held in Tulsa, Okla. on June 19. Curious about the outrage, I clicked on the trending topic. I scrolled through countless threads detailing the significance of Juneteenth as well as Tulsa’s bloody history. Thanks to my K-12 education, I can tell you that John Hancock signed his name on the Declaration of Independence in a noticeably larger font.
I am an idealist who is obsessed with reality. I understand that this statement makes no sense. Let me elaborate. Ever since I was little, I’ve been intensely concerned with fairness. Maybe it’s because I’m a Libra (if you’re into that sort of thing), but every rule imposed upon me was met with a defiant “that’s not fair.” When I got a Nintendo DS at age 10 and my brother got one that same year at age 8, I could not wrap my head around what I perceived to be complete inequality.
Today I’ve been on Instagram, Tik Tok, Youtube, probably Web MD and Snapchat. I’ve seen posters, listened to music, read labels and skimmed over descriptions from email subscriptions I forgot I even had. My day has been filled with the consumption of endless media, most of which I don’t think twice about. It’s for entertainment, out of curiosity, from anger or just boredom. Regardless, we all consume media like it’s an extra but necessary meal each and every day. Checking our phones is part of our daily routines.