My faith and hope in humanity has been renewed.
On Sunday, Cooper Blackwell and the Rocky Mount Black Action Committee put on a clinic on how to run a peaceful, meaningful protest. While other cities were burning, Rocky Mount stood tall. A beacon on a hill for others in this bleak time to behold.
Black Lives Matter.
It angers me a little bit more each time I hear someone say in response that all lives matter. We know this. But it’s a purposeful dilution of the point. All lives will not matter until Black Lives Matter.
Some social media mavens said the protest would be nothing but thugs running wild in the street. They were wrong. And they were wrong to think so.
Rocky Mount is a city with four black council members, a black manager, a black police chief, a black fire chief, several black department heads and numerous black business owners.
Many of them I’ve gotten to know in my six years in the Twin Counties. I knew Sunday would be peaceful, because I know these men and women.
Many people have given up on Rocky Mount. A lot of folks have told me the city’s best days are behind it. But what I saw, what I felt Sunday dispelled forcefully and finally all those naysaying whispers.
Rocky Mount is no longer a city on the rise; Rocky Mount is a city ahead of the nation’s curve.
I brought my two youngest sons. They wanted to take part. Anyone who wouldn’t want to show support for such a no-brainer of a cause should do some serious soul searching.
We joined the Rocky Mount protest to seek justice for George Floyd, to show Black Lives Matter, to support black leadership and put an end to white supremacy.
I am the recipient of white privilege. It’s not something I asked for and I can’t get rid of it. But it would be foolish to deny its presence: I can walk into a store without being an instant shoplifting suspect. When a police officer pulls me over, I’m not suddenly, legitimately in fear for my life.
I don’t know what it’s like to be black in America. I won’t dare even presume. But I don’t have to be black to know racism is evil. The darkest moments in our history were born of bigotry. It simply can’t continue.
The time has come for all of us in this country, in our communities and at our kitchen tables to have an honest conversation about racism.
White silence is violence.