17 years old African American Dezi Rae Kai (front-right in photo) organized this protest & march in our Northern California town of Sebastopol.
100% of the speakers were Teens.
All speakers (but one) were African American.
It was the most inspiring demonstration I attended in years!
(And the first in which all speakers referenced their notes from their cell phones!! surely a sign of our times :-)
Speakers were not rehearsed, nor slick or experienced. They were not jaded. Instead – they were Raw. They were Authentic. They were Real. And most of all — they were Eloquent!
They spoke their pain. They spoke their hearts. They spoke their grief. They spoke Hope.
It was heartening to see SO many young people in the crowd. My daughter’s generation. Passionate. Motivated. Not defeated.
I bumped into a friend my age, and we talked about this having the flavor of Vietnam anti-war protests, which we both were too young to participate in, but the feel of it was there.
It was heartwarming to see every business owner on the High Street come out, ring bells, clap, cheer, offer free water bottles (it was hot!)
I thought I will return home heart broken. Yet even though my heart cracked open during the speeches, I came home Inspired. And indeed hopeful!
We arrived in front of our local police station, and a hush fell over the extremely large crowd. We were invited to kneel in silence. For 9 minutes. For the duration of time it took to kill George Floyd.
It was hot. Sweat was pouring down my face and my back. Sweat and tears poured from my eyes. And it wasn’t over. It wasn’t over. It wasn’t over. My God, all this time he was saying he couldn’t breathe. He called for his mother… He called for his Mother! And it wasn’t over. And It Wasn’t Over. Until it was.
And at that moment, when George Floyd left his body, a new era was born. And our lives will never be the same again.
There will forever be the time Before and the time After. The time when we accepted an awful lot, yet kept going. Versus the time in which it became clear that things cannot go on the way they were. Period.
I hope that when my daughter is my age today — demonstrations will be of Gratitude, not of protest. Of Remembrance and of honoring. Of acknowledging the pain that brought the change. Of rallying FOR a cause, because it’s worth coming together around, not because there is anything to protest against.
This is what a shift in paradigm can look like. A new paradigm is where this generation is leading us. It’s time we listen!