By: Ayanna Pasha
Shouts rang out from Wright Park to Old Town Tacoma, as hundreds of locals gathered chanting in solidarity, in love and in demand for justice this week.
“Say his name! George Floyd!” and
“Whose lives matter? Black lives matter!”
Tacoma joined the world to protest the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis May 25 at the hands of Derek Chauvin, a police officer who has since been charged with second-degree murder.
Floyd’s murder is in no way an isolated incident.
In just the last few months Black people have:
1, Watched their friends and family die at much higher rates due to COVID-19
2. Watched their people being murdered by those whose duty it is to protect
3. Watched their people being harassed by white people purposefully abusing their privilege
No amount of words can adequately articulate the pain consuming the Black community right now. A community frequently treated without respect and denied basic human rights that has consistently been under attack mentally, physically, and financially.
A people whose suffering has long been unseen, unheard, and devalued.
The racial disparities are not only prevalent in our justice system, but within social, economic, cultural, and medical aspects of our society.
Oppression is literally choking Black people.The system, by design, relentless and suffocating.
Tacoma, like many other cities, is realizing it is beyond time to unify our voices and our missions. So we spoke up.
Protesting is a way to speak out, but it is only one way. Other organizations in Tacoma have been and continue to work on systemic change, police reform and black lives matter programs.
Tacoma Urban League is one of these organizations and their President and CEO, T’wina Nobles, urges people to commit to systemic change and social justice for the long haul.
“Black lives matter is our entire mission. Our purpose,” Nobles said. “We’ve been fighting this battle, we have a Black agenda and it hasn’t changed…Give us our rights, treat us with humanity!”
Nobles encourages the White community to continue pursuing allyship but to also let the Black community grieve.
“We are grieving. We are hurting. We are in pain. Let us grieve this loss. Multiple losses. Let us heal and allies should be ready to listen when we reach out,” she said.
She also has a message for the Black community: “Take the time you need. You don’t need to jump up and provide new content, new demands, or new talking points. Our message has been the same for 400 years. Right now, we are hurting, we are grieving.”
In an effort to hear, support and amplify black voices we’ve listed some resources below:
Support Black-owned businesses
Ayanna is a Copywriter for M Agency specializing in creating impactful content and crafting meaningful messages. She leads with words of wit in a City of Grit. Ayanna grew up in Washington state, but is an Island girl at heart, an avid learner, yoga instructor, and mom!