Lasting change is needed to combat injustice

Staff Editorial: The opinion of the El Vaquero staff members


Images via Unsplash.

Recently, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee formally elevating the threat from white supremacist groups to its top priority level, alongside ISIS and its network of homegrown terrorists.

At the beginning of this year, the storming of the capitol demonstrated the making of America great for white people. Former President Trump’s presidency has opened Pandora’s box of hate into the American mainstream, giving the permission some racists needed to reveal themselves proudly and wreak havoc on symbols of American democracy that have withstood wars and attacks for centuries. Despite the challenges the past year has posed, many still fail to recognize the injustices in our nation. With support for Black Lives Matter and Asian Americans fluctuating it is important that we make a conscious effort to get out of the “Irvine Bubble” we live in and push for lasting change.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, hate crimes against Asian Americans have been on a constant rise. There were 122 incidents of anti-Asian American hate crimes in 16 of the country’s most populous cities in 2020, an increase of almost 150% over the previous year, according to data compiled by California State University’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. Oftentimes initial pushes for justice wane. While support for this issue seems to be in full force with the recent shooting in Atlanta, Georgia, we cannot be sure it will last.

With time, support for social justice movements across the country has diminished. According to Pew Research Center, a majority of U.S. teens, 55%, now express at least some support for the Black Lives Matter movement, down from 67% in June amid nationwide demonstrations sparked by the death of George Floyd. Those who say they strongly support the movement stand at 29%, down from 38% at the start of the movement. Similar trends are predicted for Asian-Americans, which is unacceptable in the twentieth century. Irvine is afforded the privileges of being a traditionally safe and affluent area and we should work towards extending these liberties worldwide. We should not stop these efforts now.

Some may argue that it is necessary to prioritize our own needs and wellbeing over political intercourse. People often comment “Politics doesn’t affect my life” but fail to recognize that every aspect of our daily lives is influenced by it. From how much we pay in taxes to the price of gasoline, politics has a direct impact on our daily lives. Not every social justice cause may be something you feel is important or resonates with you. However, political advocacy should never be placed on the back burner.

As a community and a nation, we need to provide continued support to these efforts, not only when they are “trending.” We need to rededicate ourselves and put aside our own political comforts. Sign petitions, advocate on social media and donate. With the start of a new presidency, it is now the time to move forward together and create change.