This is what unity looks like

By Stephanie Maniglia, '16

As the protest continues, we are asked to keep walking and to lock arms with the people surrounding us.

I look over to my friend on the left, and realize she has her arm around a middle-aged man whom she doesn’t know. My friend on the right is doing the same, as the chant begins to grow among the crowd. “The people united will never be defeated.”

As I continue walking, hand in hand with my friends and the people of Baltimore, I come to the realization that I am experiencing solidarity in the truest of forms.

This is what unity looks like.

This is what justice looks like.

I come from a place of privilege. I have never experienced oppression in the way that so many Baltimore natives have experienced both in the past and are experiencing right now. Because of this, I cannot fully grasp and understand how enraged the people of this community must be feeling.

However, I still have a responsibility to them. I have a responsibility to walk with them. I have the responsibility to educate myself, to put myself in situations where I have the opportunity to listen to the stories of the people who have been victims of these systemic injustices.

Privilege doesn’t keep us from joining our voices together with those who are being mistreated.

When one person is excluded, persecuted, or mistreated, everyone is.

When we lend our voices to their cause, we are strengthening the bonds of the human family. By choosing to meet people where they are, we are investing in their humanity. We bring about justice in this city by aligning ourselves with the oppressed people of Baltimore.

When we choose to meet the oppressed where they are and join them in their demand for justice, we can begin to help the boundaries between the oppressed and the oppressor fade away.

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Originally from San Jose, Ca., Stephanie Maniglia is a member of Loyola’s Class of 2016. Her reflection was written in light of the recent protests in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray.

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