Opinion Staff Editorial

We unequivocally support Black Lives Matter

Jiselle Santos/The Cougar

As a journalism organization, our first loyalty is to the citizenry we serve. Being the student publication of the University of Houston, one of the most diverse public institutions in the country, The Cougar has the responsibility of being a voice for everyone at UH, especially when it comes to supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

Since the death of Third Ward native George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on May 25, statements from campus leaders, including  President Renu Khator, the Student Government Association president and other student organization executives, have stood in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Cougar’s editorial board unequivocally joins them and many others in advocating against the social injustices that the black community faces from police brutality, systematic racism and overall inequity in the United States and around the globe.

The time is now for black voices to be heard. To sit in silence and not address the injustices that the community faces — including on our campus and our city — simply would not suffice.

With that being said, we support our fellow students who have pushed for change — real change —on our campus, including those who have petitioned for Khator and her administration to redefine UH’s relationship with the Houston Police Department, which has a record of transparency issues.

Enablers of state-sponsored violence and overpolicing with little self-accountability have no business near our campus community, which nearly 5,000 black students and faculty call their own.

Since Floyd was killed under the knee of a white police officer, thousands of people in Houston  have spoken up to protest the death of one of the city’s own. The demonstration, along with the similar displays of solidarity across the world, highlight how real change can happen.

We understand not everyone can protest. After all, the coronavirus pandemic is still raging on, and infection rates will likely spike given the sheer size of some demonstrations.

But we highly encourage everyone who can to find ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement to do so.

Whether that means donating to mutual aid funds and signing petitions or educating yourselves on black history, black activism and systematic racism, find a way to do your part.

We all must also learn to be true allies. One way to do that is by supporting black-owned businesses in Houston and around the nation to help amplify their voices.

The system implemented through centuries of oppression has failed them, as it was deliberately designed to do.

From here on out, it is our responsibility to make sure that cycle is broken and that we empower the black community until we truly achieve a fair future for them and justice for the atrocities they have endured over 400 years.

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