Peaceful Protest For Change & Equality

The residents of Maplewood & South Orange protested peacefully, on Friday, June 5, 2020. This protest was organized by the students of Columbia High School.

I am writing this post over, and attempting to upload it as it originally wouldn’t post for some reason. I’ve been trying to get these images to upload, and to show here, because they mean a LOT to me.. so I am posting them bit by bit. They have to be seen, and this story has to be told.

Mothers, fathers, children, teachers, medical professionals, city officials, local business owners, and residents gathered in South Orange on Friday, June 5th to walk peacefully for positive change and equality, while police officers blocked off intersections in observance of our protest. This was such a powerful moment, and I’m so glad I was able to be a part of history in REAL TIME!

As my girlfriend and I walked from Spiotta Park in South Orange to Maplewood Municipal building down valley, we felt so empowered. We walked with my girlfriend’s mom, and our two friends. The streets were filled with people who spoke up for change and demanded that our voices were heard.

More importantly, the young men and women who organized this protest did an amazing job of using that moment to address the necessary changes needed within the community, as they spoke about there own personal experiences. Maplewood and South Orange is known for being a “stigma free” community. That all sounds nice on paper, but in reality there are still racial issues that exist within the two towns… and these students used this opportunity to call out these ‘stigma free’ local restaurant owners, and school systems!

(Video of one student who gave me chills, who describes the racial inequality he has experienced while watching the “Independence Day” fireworks in the local park. I believe his name is Danny)

I was absolutely infuriated when I learned that this stigma-free community, does not send school buses to certain areas within the school district, due to the location of the neighborhood as it relates to the “distance” of the school. There’s no reason why these children should have to take public transportation or walk miles just to get to school, and have to worry about being late for class, due to the fact that they have not been provided with public school transportation — this is a problem. Redlining is a problem, period.

It goes without saying, that we are being heard, and seen right now, and more than ever before, we are uniting and coming together (both in our communities and around the world) to push for positive change and equality for our people — BLACK PEOPLE!

We are the reporters.

We are the journalists.

With social media, we are only exposing what some people have been afraid to acknowledge.. what some people have been afraid to talk about outside AND inside their homes. It’s uncomfortable for many, and that’s good! This conversation needs to continue, until the issue of systematic racism and inequality is no longer an issue. We ask every white person/ally who wants to help/contribute in ways that will promote this change, to hold themselves accountable in these moments, continue to speak up and use their privilege to help us in moments when it is absolutely necessary, to educate and correct themselves/friends/family/peers/colleagues, and to continue to advocate for this change.

Do NOT stop, once it is no longer “trending”.

We will not be silenced, and we will continue to speak up, walk, and inform until you’ve heard us and give us the support we deserve! Even after that, we will never let go of what it took to get there. I have hope, and believe that even through all of the negativity, change will come — it has to!

Karma is a Black Woman.

Love & Light*

Be safe, Be well everyone.

❤ Tati

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