In the wake of police murders of George Floyd and other unarmed black citizens, white people are finally listening and showing up in defense of our brothers and sisters of color. Speaker after speaker told us what it is like to be African Americans living in Asheville, in fear of the police. Following massive, racially mixed marches despite police attacks, our mayor and City Council are listening. They have promised to remove Confederate statues, and (as many other cities are now doing) to study redistributing some funds from the police into social programs. These are important first steps.
What’s next? Whites need to listen and learn about the roots of systemic racism and poverty. The Poor People’s Campaign, led by the Rev. William Barber, had planned a Moral March on Washington for June 20; it had to be canceled due to the pandemic, but we can participate online.
From their website: “The Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington is going digital! On June 20th, we will hold the largest digital and social media gathering of poor and low-wealth people, moral and religious leaders, advocates, and people of conscience in this nation’s history. A global pandemic is exposing even more the already existing crisis of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and militarism, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. 250,000 people a year die from poverty — 60% of those are Black. On June 20, the 140 million poor and low-income people across this nation will be heard! To register: https://poorpeoplescampaign.org.”
— Cathy Holt