Some stories are more uplifting and inspirational. The one that shocks me most, because it’s often the most cited, is how either the Eric Garner or Freddie Gray spurred them to do something. Not out of violence or hatred, but out of a sense of justice that showing up is their way of showing that they do not think what happened is right.
The most unforgettable story: Brianna Marie was explaining to us how the cases made her feel, and how it brought out so much hate and anger and outrage, that she wanted to express a different type of message, which led to the #Standing4BlackLives march that she spearheaded, just a few short months later. It was nothing short of inspiring to hear her tell that story, surrounded by the hundreds and hundreds of people who shared that same vision, and showed up publicly to support that vision. Because of her, I saw SacPD and CHP chiefs bow in prayer WITH protesters led by Ronald Stevens, to kick off a non-violent, silent (no chanting) march to the Capitol steps, without a permit but with the blessing of the on-duty law enforcement officers. That’s what Eric Garner inspired in Sacramento, even if it was for one day.
The people who didn’t go, didn’t get to see this young lady in action. You weren’t there when unscripted words moved an entire crowd to want justice instead of revenge, peace instead of violence, life instead of death. Those of us who were there, will never forget what it was like.
Briana’s in college now, but I’m hoping that the rally was just this young lady getting her feet wet.
Whatever you experienced at a protest rally, take it home with you, and do something good with it. Do more than plan to show up to the next one. Give yourself something to talk about by the time the next one happens. Uplifting and inspirational won’t mean much if you are lifted up and inspired to actually do something. That’s how change happens. By changing what you were doing before, into something better.