In the wake of George Floyd’s murder in May, cities across the United States – and the world – erupted in protests against police brutality. While the largest of these took place in major cities, even small towns like Concord have held small demonstrations of unity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Weekly displays in support of the BLM movement in the Concord town center were organized by a small group of Concord Academy students. They started in late June, and continued throughout the summer. Students bring signs and wave to passing cars, attending consistently every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 3-4 in the afternoon. Despite students’ persistence, the group is still relatively small, averaging around eight teenagers.
“Even though there’s not a lot of people, it’s still important for people to see us, to know that we will come back each week and that this isn’t over. I wish there were more people, though,” Kincaid DeBell ’21 comments.
Emma Myers-Rafferty ’21 emphasizes this point, “It’s nice that we’re having them, but it feels like we don’t have enough manpower.” Other regular protestors echo this sentiment, wondering why more students from the nearby area have not taken interest, despite many living nearby. Furthermore, many students have been heavily active online, reposting BLM and other social justice related posts on different platforms. Despite this virtual presence, the turnout at the Concord demonstrations remains low, leading protesters to question the real intent behind these posts.
“Performative action is a real issue,” shares Isadora Goldman-Leviton ’21, who played a major role organizing the Concord protests. “They are really willing to post about something online, but won’t do much after that. People, especially many white day students, consider themselves ‘woke’ just because they go to CA.”
Furthermore, the CA Administration, which is usually quite open to backing student movements, has not encouraged the community to attend the Concord protests either, despite releasing statements supporting the BLM movement. Many students are irked by this silence, which contrasts greatly with CA’s support of the Climate Strike last fall and the Gun Reform walk-out the previous year.
With the school year starting, it is unclear whether or not the protests will continue, although Isadora shared that there is no plan for them to end as classes start.