It was June 2, 2020. Senior Bethany Taylor had poured the cold brew she drinks every morning into the special cup she likes, a tall faceted glass. She mixed in her barista edition Oatly oat milk with her metal straw and sipped. This is how she starts all her mornings, but this morning was different. Today was the day Bethany’s life would change, along with it that of Black Americans.
She opened Instagram and started swiping through her friends’ stories.
It had been a week since the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. Scrolling through her feed, Bethany felt as though she was drowning in black squares. Izzy Keller posted one, Laura Adams posted one, even Andrew Martin, who according to Bethany, everyone at her school knew said the n-word posted one, captioning it “🖤.” She checked her profile, no black square, just a picture of her at the beach, a picture of her boyfriend, her dog and a summer camp photo.
“I was wondering, like, do I really have to post if I have a Black boyfriend? They must know I’m not a racist. I don’t think I could even be racist.”
Despite that though, Bethany knew that then was the time to speak up.
“My heart was racing. I like looked up ‘black,’ screenshotted the first image I saw and posted it,” Bethany said. “It was the scariest thing I’d done in a while.”
Bethany says she knew she had to do something after she saw the footage of George Floyd’s murder.
“I had always known Black people had it bad in this country I guess, but hearing him call for his mother made me realize that I also have a mother. I feel like as a woman, I can understand what the Black people must feel like right now.”
Her commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement didn’t stop with her black square. Bethany realized as she spent the rest of the day scrolling that she had to do more. She opened up her profile settings and went to her bio and added “BLM.”
It’s been nearly a year since Bethany posted her black square and her contributions towards the movement for racial criminal, economic and social justice is finally being recognized.
It was announced on [date] that out of the 329 nominees, Bethany was selected to be the 2021 Nobel Prize Laureate.
“We wanted to highlight and celebrate all the hard work of white women this year,” Kristen Clemet, a member of the Norwegian Nobel Commitee, said. “Bethany’s incredible bravery and commitment to peace is something we can all aspire to. We should all aim to create change through peace and understanding.”
When asked why they didn’t select a Black laureate to celebrate the Black Lives Matter movement, the committee said they found issue with the destruction of property which they attributed to the redirect of some prominent Black activists.
“I really hope that other activists can look to me to understand that peace and kindness will always triumph over hatred,” Bethany said. “I found the riots quite distasteful and some activists are just so angry all the time. I wish everyone would just smile and have some coffee.”
Following the paths of past Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Bethany has since committed multiple human rights violations and one genocide.