Choose public safety over personal inconveniences

The coronavirus pandemic has thrust communities at large into the forefront of public safety, and by and large our community has stepped up to the challenge. Most people are maintaining practices of social distancing and are trying to limit their exposure to the outdoors as much as possible. That is not to say that the response has been all positive and cooperative, as protestors, such as those involved with the graduation protests at the Ventura County Government Center on May 22 and others involved with the anti-shutdown protests at Ventura on May 9, cause havoc by disobeying ordinances meant to keep the community safe. The problem lies not only with these people protesting, it also includes people who are disobeying social distancing guidelines, refusing to wear a mask and hanging out with friends.

It is crucial to understand the complete difference in severity between people protesting over graduation or getting a haircut versus protesting against centuries of systemic oppression and racism, like those in participating in the Black Lives Matter Protest. While the peaceful Black Lives Matter protests are rooted with intentions of righting the wrongs of an oppressive system, the logic of anti shutdown protests is severely flawed, meaning that we cannot sympathize with privileged calls for a return to normalcy that risk the lives of our community members.

Amidst the Black Lives Matter protests, some people may assume that both types of protests are comparable in nature. However, this assumption comes from an ignorant place of privilege. It is shocking to see the difference in treatment between the anti-shutdown protests and the Black Lives Matter movement. The anti-shutdown protests were largely met with peace by the authorities, yet when we turn on the news, we are barraged by police tear gassing and shooting rubber bullets at peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors, not to be confused with looters. 

The simple solution to these problems is to listen to the advice of public health officials. It may be hard to give up on having a final Prom or graduation, but these are the loss of privileges that we as a community must accept in order to protect the most vulnerable.

Thankfully, the anti-shutdown protesters seem to make up the minority of community members, and it is awe inspiring to see people and government officials working together in unison to help protect all of the lives in our community The “Conejo Way” should be about helping each other and lifting each other up, and there is no greater example of that than seeing people practice social distancing, wearing masks in public and supporting local business through safe means.