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  • Writer's picturegraeme


June 16, 1976. Waking up that morning, the young people of Soweto did not know the violence that lay ahead of them. All they knew was that the racist oppression that forced them to live and learn a certain way was too much for them. They didn’t know what they could achieve by marching in the streets to make their voices heard. But they did know that they couldn’t be silent.

And so they marched. For many, it was the last thing they ever did.

It would take another 18 years before any of them would see the results of their protest turn into genuine political change for South Africa. Some would argue that they have yet to see their protests turn into genuine societal change in our country.

And that’s why we need to keep remembering. That’s why we need to keep marching. That’s why #BlackLivesMatter is so important.

Because, just like in 1976, until ALL lives really do matter and are truly equal in value, opportunity and expectation, Black Lives Matter is a necessary campaign and definitely worth protesting for.

In 1976, those students might have preferred the words of Steve Biko, with his statement: Black is Beautiful. He was questioned and vilified for that just as much as BLM is questioned by racists today.

On this Youth Day, today, as we remember again the sacrifice that young people made nearly a half century ago, let’s continue to protest and proclaim that Black Lives are Beautiful and Black Lives Matter, and let us not stop until it is a lived out reality in our country and our world.

A luta continua.

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