Posted by Vivian Wu

Nia Wilson. Nia Wilson. Nia Wilson. We must to speak her name. Loudly and proudly. A beautiful young black woman was murdered on the night of July 22, 2018. She had dreams to reach and goals to achieve. She was filled with passion, love, and kindness. As a recent graduate from Oakland High School, Nia wanted to become a paramedic, join the military, and produce her music. However, she no longer can because of one man’s racist attack. His name is John Lee Cowell, but his name is not what needs to be projected. We need to say HER name and her experience. In the media, Cowell’s mental health issues and homelessness have been constantly displayed as if readers and viewers are supposed to show pity. His own parents have expressed their fear of their own son; they have requested for a restraining order to protect themselves. His problems are not excuses for his actions. What has happened cannot be taken back. Nia Wilson is gone.

BART is now questioned more than ever. Is it safe? Should we continue to ride public transportation? Backing down and hiding in fear does not create peace. It only adds to the attention of the person at fault, because it shows that Cowell has achieved his goal of scaring others. BART has begun to take action by increasing the budget for surveillance cameras, alert systems, and live screens. Although these suggestions may provide more safety to passengers, they do not tackle the origins of hate. Statistics and personal experiences have told us and showed us the rise in dangers. According to The San Francisco Chronicle, just for BART, there has been a 70% increase of crimes from 2007 to 2017, just ten years. These issues are real. REAL. Hate has caused innocent souls to leave this world. Nia Wilson should not have died.

The Youth Advisory Council feels deeply saddened by this hatred act. The entire attack seems very planned and organized, which makes YAC think of this murder as racially motivated. Nia Wilson’s murder touches home base for all our YAC members especially because of how close and inhumane the attack was. As many YAC members identify with the Asian Pacific Islander community, we understand and recognize our privilege in comparison to the black community, specifically young black women. Let us protect our black women. YAC believes that our government should look past these stereotypes, social norms, and biases in order to truly achieve fairness and justice. We have to come together as a community to create a shared and safe space for all, so we all recover and unite for Nia Wilson. Keep saying her name. NIA WILSON.

I am deeply disheartened to hear about the news of Nia Wilson. She had big dreams, just like all of us; it is unfair that she is now unable to achieve those dreams because of this tragic hate crime. We must continue chanting Nia’s name, and the names of those we have lost due to racially driven crimes. We demand for justice for Nia Wilson. – Emily Liang

Nia Wilson did not deserve what that man did to her. It’s so unfortunate that Oakland and other parts of the world remain unsafe for black and brown folks. We’re tired of this racial prejudice-we need to keep challenging it, in honor of those robbed of their lives because of the color of their skin. We can’t stop talking about Nia, or else we forget then history repeats. – Kathy Liang

A knife held by a hand of prejudice has unjustly claimed another vibrant, effervescent, young life — one that was black and a woman. Youth around the world shouldn’t be targeted or fearful for surviving the day, regardless of their complexion or any other factor that has been used to divide society. Nia Wilson and her story isn’t the only case that exists detailing racial hatred to people of color so it is pertinent that as a community we denounce this disgusting act and all alike. Unified, we must demand that people of color be free of targeted hatred and prejudices without compromise. – Thomas Files

Nia Wilson’s story is very inspirational and should be spread out to break the misunderstanding of people held against criminals in jail. Nia and her story sets a good role model for all the oppressed groups to remember that no matter what kind of difficulty you are facing, as long as you have courage and keep on fight, you will eventually gain the rights you deserve. – Hua Wei

Nia Wilson’s death was one that was unjustified and wicked.  A bright young woman’s life was taken by the hands of a prejudiced man; this talented woman was a student, a peer, a fellow teenager who had dreams and aspirations that will never be fulfilled now.  We can’t allow Nia’s name become another hashtag or trend before people go back to their daily lives and forget about the injustices that’s occurring on a regular basis. We must demand change and not settle until people can safely walk on the streets they grew up in without fearing for their lives because of their race or skin color. – Queenie Tu

Nia Wilson’s saddening and tragic story really hit home for the members of YAC. All of us felt a connection to her story because we are also young students who take Bart fairly often. Hearing about these things happening makes us feel unsafe on public transportation as minorities and we have to continue to fight for justice with our allies and fight against white supremacy. – Nicholas Chung

I am completely heartbroken by what happened to an intelligent and bright black woman, Nia Wilson. It saddens me, because racism and hatred still control so many people’s actions. The repetition of deaths, especially within the black community, is not something we are unfamiliar with, which angers and disappoints me. Enough is enough. Really. We must continue to say her name. Nia Wilson. – Vivian Wu

The death of Nia Wilson was heartbreaking and unjust. She was just a young student like all of us, but her life was robbed of her by someone who believed she shouldn’t exist. A young black woman being killed by a white supremacist simply because of her race is a sad reminder that racism is still prevalent in an area as diverse and progressive as the Bay Area. Yet at the same time, it shows that we, as members of the community, must continue to fight for justice and the rightful treatment of minorities so that this does not happen again. – Jocelyn Gao

The passing of Nia Wilson was not only upsetting but unjust . Like many of us , Nia was a vibrant young soul who had dreams she had wanted to achieve though her life was taken away through the intentions of racism. It’s 2018 , racism needs to be stopped before another innocent life is taken away. – Michelle Lu

I am completely demoralized by this hate crime. People should feel comfortable and safe in their own skin not threatened. People of color should not live in fear. Her death was unjustified and she did not deserve to be killed. We must keep fighting for change and don’t stop until everyone can feel safe walking in the streets. – Javier Acosta