A year of activism since the George Floyd killing, and what comes next

By Sandi Nicholson
Reader Contributor

It’s been a year since local teenagers who took to the Long Bridge to march in solidarity with Black Lives Matter were met by a mob of assault rifle carrying counter-protesters who came out on a conspiracy rumor and a lie. 

This event spiraled a year of local activism and division. We are forever rocked and will never be the same as a community. Who we were before that day is gone. And perhaps it needed to happen for our eyes to open.

A group of about 50 teenagers gathered on June 2, 2020 to protest the George Floyd killing. Photo by Ben Olson.

To the teenagers and young adults who marched that day: I hope that you continue to peacefully and stoically use your First Amendment right and understand that it was against our Constitution and therefore against the law to be met with intimidation. Keep standing strong and know that you are supported. Research your vote and realize that the elected officials in this community did not stand up for the Constitution nor the law that day; instead they listened to social media craze and lies. What you did was right and good. 

To the assault rifle carrying mob: Upon realizing that your rumor was a lie, the appropriate response (and adult thing to do) was an apology and encouragement to the kids that we support their First Amendment right. A knee should have been taken and rifles put away. Rifles are for hunting or threat of life. You should have validated the kids, humbled yourself, apologized and put the guns away (i.e. model responsible, supportive adult behavior).

To the new people flooding into our community: Welcome. Small businesses are blessed to have you as patrons. We all love the outdoors, our personal space, playing on the lake and in the mountains. Please know that this community is inclusive of those who stand for anti-discrimination. We do not tolerate discrimination against those who are protected by law. 

Our history is deeply rooted in discrimination and white supremacy from its beginning (starting with the discrimination against the Indigenous peoples and the white supremacy over those of Asian descent who built our railroads). However, by understanding our history we are able to awaken and learn to transform. 

We encourage you to look deeply at our elected officials, what they say vs. what they do and check their actions with your values. And please get to know us offline, in person at community events and places. If you are white, please ally. 

To white moms: I encourage you to start advocating for history that includes non-white history. I support you in avoiding paranoia, conspiracy and lies online about this and, instead, getting to know non-white mamas and forming relationships in a safe way that does not trigger their experiences. 

When it seems safe and there is trust, you can begin to ask non-white mom friends what they need from us to be allies in the schools. Listen and respond to their voices through: 1., genuine relationships; 2., podcasts; 3., lives on Instagram; 4., books, etc. Get organized as allies and work from the ground up, since elected officials continue to listen to rumor, lies and conspiracies. 

Go into your child’s classroom and get to know the history teacher. Ask them how they are advocating for an accurate representation of history and fair civics that promote equality. Join with other allies. Find ways to link arms with other allies and work from the bottom up: classrooms, principals’ offices, board meetings, etc. Let’s behave the way we wish our elected officials did. My mama suggested follows on Instagram are: @momofallcapes @iamnefertitiaustin; for mamas of small children: @anupama.vriksham. 

My suggested watch (for all of us) on YouTube: “How to raise a Socially Conscious, Anti-Racist Child, NYT Parenting,” hosted by Tara Parker-Pope; and interview with Amber Coleman-Mortley.

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