UNA-NCA Snapshots
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UNA-NCA Snapshots

“No justice, No peace.”

By Oona Nelson, UNA-NCA Student Representative

As members of the United Nations Association, we believe in the civil unity and moral utility of the United Nations. We have committed time, energy, and resources to advocate for human rights, peaceful systems, and equality for all mankind. In recent events, the values have been jeopardized.

The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmed Arbury are not only a national tragedy but a representation of the systems and procedures that have oppressed a marginalized population in the United States. Racial driven homicides violate the commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document shall not stand in vain; it exists to hold nations accountable for their actions and to demonstrate the UN’s allegiance to equal treatment of mankind and as well as the constituents that drafted and signed this declaration.

The recent deaths of unarmed Black citizens unveil a government that has prioritized structural racism to maintain a status quo of racial superiority and classism. These killings were not an accident, but a result of malpractice and microaggression. Police brutality has wreaked havoc on the Black community for decades. It is not a modern-day issue, but a continuous matter of contention. The decimation of Black individuals by police is supported by rules and regulations that are only in place to protect White bodies. It is then amplified by racial bias, discrimination, and stereotypes that were concocted to keep Black people in a box, unaware of the true meaning of liberty.

Reduced inequalities are Sustainable Development Goal number 10 and even in the most powerful country in the world, this is still a troubling matter for the United States. The abolishment of the Jim Crow laws was not the end of racial discrimination. Now instead of explicit codes and conducts constructed to keep the Black class in lower society, implicit racism has emerged and is aggressive and menacing. It is so ingrained into American culture that it is hard to locate for those who do not experience it daily. The new Jim Crow Laws have existed for decades in this country. The same Constitution that declared segregation legal is the same Constitution that we live under today. A document that explicitly says “All” but discreetly protects the White race while moderately acknowledging the minority. Is this the same country that stole Africans from the coast of West Africa and forcibly demanded unpaid labor? Is this the same country that decided Blacks and Whites were not equal therefore needed separate public facilities? Certain circumstances have changed, Blacks are no longer slaves and schools are no longer legally segregated, however it was guided by the same Constitution that dictated that all these actions were legal and just. Only one thing changed, interpretation. The words have changed, but the systems haven’t. Through amendments and policies, political leaders have doctored laws that have made the Black race vulnerable to racial oppression. We can now go to school, but with education disparities across that country that primarily affect communities with the Black and Brown. We can now own homes but are now driven out by mass developers aiding in the advancement of gentrification in urban neighborhoods previously occupied by the racially inferior. We can now vote but are bogged down by rules and protocols that reduce the number of minority voters to register for that right. We are now free but are subject to policies that prioritize mass incarceration for petty or non-existent crimes that predominantly affect the Black community and reintroduces the race to a modern form of slavery.

The institutionalized racism running rampant in our country is another contravention of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It especially inhibits Sustainable Development Goal number 16, Justice, Peace, and Strong Institutions, from reaching full fruition in 2030. If we do not recognize the patterns of institutionalized racism, we cannot correct it for the betterment of our future.

The United States is an important power player in the United Nations. It is an example of democracy and freedom that many other countries fail to practice. I won’t negate the liberties this country has provided me, but I won’t pass a blind eye to its downfalls. This country has provided me with opportunities that I would not get anywhere else, but it has also treated me and my racial counterparts as second class citizens. As an advocate of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, it is my duty to stand up and use my voice to educate my fellow members of the racial injustices going on in this country to my Black sisters and brothers. While I am not an expert, I live in my Blackness every day, it is something that I cannot change, so I will fight for the racial equality that every American deserves.

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