By Somaya Laroussi and Thiffany Da Silva
All around the country and across the globe, youth have risen up to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. The youth of Revere are no exception. On Tuesday, June 9th they hosted a rally and march across the city in protest against racism, racial violence, and police brutality.
“All cities and communities in this country benefit from Black history and Black existence,” says Annalisse Hart, sophomore at Revere High School. “To me, BLM means to fight for and support the liberation of Black lives. To not advocate for Black Lives is to do a huge injustice to their contributions both historically and culturally.”
The demonstration began Tuesday afternoon at the Revere Beach bandstand. After opening remarks, the youth planned to lead the group up north, along the beach and onto Revere Street. They continued marching through Broadway down to Revere City Hall.
“As a Latino student and resident, it has been difficult to navigate the predominantly white areas of our city and school,” explains Jason Acosta Espinosa, Class of 2020. “To me, Revere continues to be on the wrong side of history by repeating itself, and it feels like we’re failing an open-note test.”
Approximately 69 percent of Revere Public School (RPS) students are of color (and identify as members of ethnic minority groups). As a Title 1 school district, RPS benefits from additional government funding and resources — in part because of these demographic statistics.
As a former RPS student and RHS graduate of 2019, Seba Ismail feels that, “Silence is complacency and Revere’s history of silence speaks volumes.” She goes on to proclaim, “We want everyone to know that our voices are unapologetic. Our voices are necessary. Our voices matter.”
The youth believe that the city needs to move away from embracing a glorified image of diversity and actually commit to supporting people of color, but especially the Black population. They call upon local business, educational, and political leaders to actively support and protect the humans behind the image of Revere “diversity.”
“The issues that concern Black Revere youth need to be issues that concern the city of Revere,” says Somaya Laroussi, Class of 2019. “Those of us that are allies are trying to ensure that Black Revere youth remain at the forefront of their movement and support them as best as we can.”
Once at Revere City Hall, the youth shared a list of demands for city leaders. Some of those demands include:
• Hold all Revere Public School staff accountable for any explicit or implicit racist behavior (which can include termination)
• Create a space for youth in which their demands and needs are heard, such as a youth council that oversees implementation of social policy on a local level.
• Reallocate some funding from the Revere Police Department and towards groups involved in community building
“Black Lives Matter may be a trend for many, but this is a lifestyle for some of us,” shares Diamond Kodjo, Class of 2019, a proud Black community organizer and a social media influencer. “Enough is enough. We are not asking this time, we are demanding to be heard.”
The organizers are not affiliated with any group in Revere. This is the first and only BLM march in Revere that is 100 percent youth-of-color-led. The organizers include Diamond Kodjo, Seba Ismail, Sarah Kathryn Condelli, Somaya Laroussi, Jason Acosta Espinosa, Faith Nwafor, Chaimaa Hossaini, Annalisse Hart, Savannah Hart, Dania Hallak, Devna Langat, Adejoke Atitebi, and Thifany Da Silva.