It’s been an amazing three days. The protests in my hometowns of Manassas (40 years) and Gainesville (4 years) were a lot of things, but mostly inspiring. Especially Sunday and Monday, the majority of protesters were peaceful, while still being able to express real frustration, sorrow and anger.
We heard the assistant police chief take ownership of the mistakes of Saturday night’s protest and saw every officer take a knee with the protestors. We heard stories of pain and unbelievable suffering and loss, including from a man who had lost his brother just 3 nights before in a motorcycle stop (by another law enforcement agency) that went bad. He stood next to me, weeping for his brother, told his story and still had the strength to engage in meaningful dialog with the police.
There was Q&A for FOUR HOURS between protestors and law enforcement. We met and stood with each other, in solidarity lifting black and brown voices, demanding change, allowing the cries of injustice to be heard. So many people turned out to show love, scream for justice, and lament too many lost lives. And isn’t even 1 life lost too many? I saw children and young adults using their voices for justice for the first time and heard how much they learned from the experience. They now know what it looks like to stand up for what is right. They have been empowered to use their voices for good. They are changed.
Is it enough? No, not by a long shot. But it’s a start. However, we CANNOT let the righteous indignation fade. We cannot be distracted by the next shiny object. We cannot have any more deaths. So learn. Grow. Advocate. Endeavor to earn the title “ally” by growing to the point, as one woman said so eloquently tonight, where you can explain why #blacklivesmatter to all your white friends with none of your black friends in the room. Do not become complacent. And do not let the murders of #ahmaudarbery#breonnataylor or #georgefloyd be for nothing.