“BLM isn’t something that you have the option to participate in. Going to protests is an essential part of contributing to the movement, especially if you’re white. Using your body as a shield can literally save lives and prevent harm. Also, we have accomplished much more from the protests compared to politicians and legislators making empty promises for years.

“On the other hand, the pandemic is not at all over, with many states having an increase in daily cases. I still don’t feel comfortable being around anyone other than my family, despite having offers to see my friends. There are people who have already stopped social distancing and yet won’t go to a protest or be actively anti-racist, which is shameful.”

— Senior Sarina Rye

“What's happening in our country with the BLM movement (and other related causes) is incredibly important. I stand in solidarity with the movement as a white ally who shares in the grief, frustration and rage of so many Black Americans.

“Systemic racism and violence toward Blacks has been a part of this nation's history since the first enslaved African arrived on the shores of Virginia in 1619. One cannot truly understand the history of the U.S. without grappling with the reality that black oppression and white supremacy are among the essential values that have shaped this nation's history for the last 400 years.

“As department chair, I want all history classes to represent the full complexity of the human story, including both its great accomplishments as well as its tragic failures and atrocities. History teachers at Country Day strive to include as many different voices and stories as possible in our classes, but we also need to be continually reflecting with a critical eye on everything we do in our classes. We always need to be working to amplify the stories and voices of Blacks — as well as all other historically underrepresented groups — in our classes and curricula.”

— Chris Kuipers, history department chair

“The BLM march that I went to was my first, and I painted a giant fist on my poster the night before. I was excited to be part of something that would go down in history. It is unfair how long people of color have been victims of inequality.

“Most of society today has been able to accept all sorts of differences: the disabled, LGBTQ+, etc., so I don't understand why it is so hard for people of various races to be accepted. I feel very passionate about this issue, which is why the sign I made now sits in my window for those who pass to see.”

— Naomi Cohen

“Black lives do matter. In fact, I believe that all lives matter equally. I don’t agree with the other messages (protesters) are giving, such as defunding the police, because that is the dumbest solution to this problem. I watched a podcast featuring Larry Elder, where he gives evidence and debunks the whole idea that most police officers are not racist and don’t target African Americans.”

— Anonymous

“I attended A Peaceful Protest for Our Rights, organized by local filmmaker Deon Taylor and Sacramento Kings assistant coach Bobby Jackson. The march featured speakers from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), community members and local and state officials. By participating, I wanted to show my respect and support for Black Lives Matter.”

— Pat Reynolds, counselor

(Photo courtesy of Reynolds)

“I’ve (participated) in social advocacy movements before, either during Current Events Club or on my Instagram. The BLM protests are quite important, and their demands — defunding/dismantling the police and causing institutional reform — would lead to a better America.

“The elephant in the room is that all of these protests are occurring during a pandemic of truly epic proportions. Black/Latinx people are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 by clustering in extremely close quarters. The initial spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. was caused by events with smaller populations than these protests. The protesters are fighting for their lives, and for some, it is worth the risk of being infected.

“However, considering that police brutality affects Asians on a much lower scale — for example, Asians are almost as likely to experience non-lethal force as whites — this issue affects me much less directly. This is on top of the fact that there is an increased risk of infection.

“Furthermore, considering that police often instigate violence, these protests always have the potential to get violent. I still believe that it would be worth it to act in solidarity toward those at the risk of bodily harm — if not for COVID-19. Sadly enough, the potential risks far outweigh the benefits, which is why I will not be attending a protest.”

— Senior Avinash Krishna

(Photo courtesy of Jada Grey)

“I attended the protest to support the change that needs to happen. I wanted to learn, listen and gain knowledge, because I don't want a ‘society that lives today, thinking like yesterday, without considering tomorrow,’ as my French artist friend Roland Orépük said.”

— Andy Cunningham, art teacher

“The BLM protests show how important it is to stand together and show how much we care for our community. The way that Black lives have been treated historically and currently is inhumane and unacceptable. Even though (attending protests) isn’t a monetary donation, protesting shows the mass of people who support the BLM movement, which is powerful. It has the power to affect policy makers.

"I didn’t attend the protests because I wanted to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and stay safe. I’m really conflicted because I want to support the movement by protesting, but I don't want to jeopardize anyone else’s health.”

— Maddie Woo, ’20

Quotes collected by reporter Rod Azghadi