Escape from racial injustice

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Erin Baxter
  • 15th Wing Public Affairs

Racial inequality in the United States is getting the attention of its citizens, sparking up protests to create equal opportunities and stop unlawful killing.

Airman First Class Kyle Trojillo, 15th Operations Support Squadron airfield management, and her husband, Ishmael Mustafaa, feel it’s important to continue working toward racial equality.

“I’m Filipino and my husband is black,” said Trojillo. “The Black Lives Matter movement is important to me, and even more so because it matters to my husband.”

 “He has experienced discrimination in ways that I have not and I’ve had to educate myself about the past for African Americans and how it affects Black people today,” she continued.  

Mustafaa feels as though the movement is slowly starting to create change in the country, but there is still a long way to go until everyone is finally equal in the eyes of the government and law enforcement.

“I’ve been to places where people have literally told me ‘no Blacks allowed’,” Mustafaa said. “I laughed in the moment, but it hurts to still see kids experiencing that racism.” 

Recent protests against police brutality and racial injustice are generating headlines across the globe. Protests in support of the BLM movement also took place in many major cities, including Honolulu.

“I feel like it’s important to help our brothers and sisters of color,” said Trojillo. “We should come together to squash the stigma of being a minority in America.” 

Trojillo feels even though she experienced racism for being Filipino, her husband has experienced much more. Both of them come from Detroit, which had the third-highest murder rate as of 2018. Recently, a friend came to stay with them from Detroit to get away from the riots that were taking place, so that he could feel safe and out of harm’s way. 

“As a young Black man, I can feel the difference in treatment of me and other Black people,” said Mustafaa. “It feels like the justice system doesn’t serve us any justice.”

“It’s 2020,” said Trojillo. “We have advanced technology, medicine, and space exploration, but we have yet to mark many important milestones for people of color.”

They both know that change won’t come easily, but this spark of fire that has fueled the country could finally yield results in the campaign to have all lives finally viewed as being created equally.

The Black Lives Matter movement represents numerous ideas, objectives, and groups centered around policies that negatively affect members of the Black community and the call for change. Within the current 2020 election year, the movement is focused on voter registration and education of current policies. 

The Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity while on duty or in the federal workplace, does not prohibit employees from issue-based advocacy. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel deemed the BLM movement, and its often most prominent BLM-related organization, the Black Lives Matter Global Network, are not partisan political groups but issue-based groups, and Airmen are permitted to show support or opposition toward these groups.