Former Cavalier lifts up black voices at VCU


Protesters gather at the Robert E. Lee Memorial to spread awareness of Black Lives Matter.

2020 has certainly been a year for the books, with pandemics, wildfires, and many other major events that have definitely taken the world by surprise. However, 2020 hasn’t been a total disaster. In fact, for some, it has been a step in the right direction towards social justice. 

Black Lives Matter, or BLM, is a social movement and protest against racial discrimination. While the term BLM dates back to  2013, the overall cause dates back to the civil rights movement era in the 1960s. However, people have been fighting for the rights of African Americans before the 60s, as it has always been an issue. Black Lives Matter advocates for non-violent civil disobedience in protest against incidences of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against African Americans. 

Eduardo Acevado is a BLM advocate and a Clover Hill High School alumni. This former Cavalier, and current Ram of Virginia Commonwealth University, was tasked with covering the Black Lives Matter protests for the Commonwealth Times over the summer as the university publication’s news editor.  

Acevado found a great deal of worth in this summer’s social justice movement.

“Black Lives Matter is, to me, a movement worth everyone’s attention,” Acevado said. “Black people in America have had centuries of oppression and negligence toward their lives that cannot be ignored any longer. I am in full support of the movement and hope to see some changes from actions and organizations by the BLM movement.”

As of now, peaceful protests have been the main vessel of getting the movement’s point across. Many people see BLM as more than just a ‘trend’ and a small piece of an ongoing struggle.

Acevado wishes for the voices of the BLM movement to be heard, and he shares the best way someone can help. 

“To me, the best way to make the voice of the movement heard is getting out there with them,” Acevado said. “Whether it be through protests, organizing in your community or educating your friends and family on why this issue is pertinent and of everyone’s concern in America. It’s important to educate yourself on America’s root problems and fight the fight.”

The Black Lives Matter movement does not focus merely on protesting against racism. The movement has also made it a goal to educate the public on the matter so that others can join in the fight for equality. 

To Acevado, he sees the movement for what it is and not just a hashtag on social media. 

“A personal goal of mine is to become more active in combating these issues, especially ones that do not pertain to me,” Acevado said. “Black femmes are hugely underrated and discounted for the work they do in the movement and in their day-to-day lives, and I’ve seen firsthand that they often don’t even get to enjoy the fruits of their labor. While some may organize protests or actions in the community, there are always plenty behind the scenes doing the work in the community a lot of other people wouldn’t even think of. Things like jail support, court support, and mental health crises responses, just to name a few.”

While the fight for true equality is still ongoing, BLM has made some very significant changes in policies that pertain to African Americans. Its contribution to a newer, better society has been nothing short of significant, and it will continue to do so even more in the future. 

“Listen to black voices,” Acevado said. “Educate yourself well before you speak, especially if you are non-black. Black people’s experiences in this country vary widely from person to person, so listening and understanding their stories can be one of the greatest tools in this movement.”

A protester holds a sign at a BLM protest in Richmond, VA.
Richmond residents march up Broad St. for racial justice.